Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - EU - 2017

Commission Consultation, 28 November 2017

CONTACT MATERIALS - Commission consultation: Evaluation and fitness check roadmap: Evaluation of Food Contact Materials (FCM)

The Commission has prepared a draft evaluation and fitness check roadmap. The following are the introductory sections from the document. The consultation closes on the 26 December 2017.

Evaluation and fitness check roadmap: Evaluation of Food Contact Materials (FCM)

A copy of the document is available on this site (click on image).

For more details, see:


Food contact materials (FCMs) are all materials that come into contact with food including packaging as well as every-day items such as kitchen and table ware and those used in professional food manufacturing, preparation, storage and distribution. Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 (the FCM Regulation) provides that these materials shall not transfer their components into food in quantities that could endanger human health or change the composition, or organoleptic properties of the food. The principal objectives of the legislation are to:

1. Provide the basis for securing a high level of protection of human health and the interests of consumers;

2. Ensure the effective functioning of the internal market.

The Regulation complements other EU legislation related to the safety of chemical substances such as REACH, as well as other legislation on the safety of the food chain, including the General Food Law.

The size of the industry is significant (circa. €100 billion) and the Regulation has never been systematically assessed since the inception of its basic provisions set out in 1976. On the basis of evidence presented, including a recent JRC study it also appears that there are issues concerning the disparity between detailed harmonised EU rules on plastic FCMs and the absence of EU rules for many other materials, which in turn may negatively affect the correct functioning of the internal market due to national divergent rules as well as potentially the safety of FCMs.

In light of this and the inefficiencies that have also been highlighted in the existing approach to regulating FCMs including plastic FCMs, a need has been identified to evaluate how the current Regulation has performed in relation to its original objectives.

Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this evaluation is to assess whether the current EU legislative framework for FCMs is fit for purpose and delivers as expected. It will assess the overall effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence including coherence with other chemicals and food legislation, and EU added value of the FCM Regulation. The evaluation will cover the functioning of the FCM Regulation in its entirety and the rules and tools provided for by this legislation (see intervention logic in annex) applicable in the European Union. For example this will include the relevant aspects of specific implementing measures. It will also examine the situation concerning materials for which there are no EU specific measures and which are subject to national measures which are permitted.

The period of the evaluation will start from when the FCM Regulation entered into force in 2004 as regards those elements that were introduced or modified in this Regulation. However, the evaluation will also cover the period concerning the general rules that have been maintained since the introduction of the earliest FCM legislation in the EU.

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