Food Law News - UK - 2004

FSA Consultation Letter, 2 July 2004

CONTACT MATERIALS - Consultation on implementing EC Directive on Materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs

We invite your comments on a proposal to transpose a European Commission Directive into English law. Responses are requested by: 10 September 2004

Consultation details

The proposed regulations and the initial Regulatory Impact Assessment are attached below. The Food Standards Agency in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will each consult on parallel but separate Regulations.

The regulations being proposed, The Materials and Articles in Contact with Food and the Plastic Materials and Articles in Contact with Food (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2005 would implement Commission Directive 2004/14/EC relating to materials and articles made of regenerated cellulose film intended to come into contact with foodstuffs. The Directive was adopted in January 2004 and published in the Official Journal (OJ) of the European Communities in January (OJ reference L 27/48 of 30 January 2004).

Reasons for changing the rules

The current rules have been in place since 1993, Commission Directive 93/10/EEC (as amended by Directive 93/111/EEC) established a positive list of substances for use in the manufacture of coated and uncoated regenerated cellulose film. Some of the substances were permitted for use with restrictions. Synthetic casings made of regenerated cellulose and cellulose films that have coatings on the food contact side of greater than 50 milligrams per square decimetre of film have been, until now, excluded from the scope of the legislation. These Directives are implemented by The Materials and Articles in Contact with Food Regulations 1987 (SI 1987 No. 1523), as amended by the 1994 Regulations (SI 1994 No. 979).

Regenerated Cellulose Film (RCF)

The proposal amends the Materials and Articles in Contact with Food Regulations 1987 as already amended and is complex. The proposal also relates to regenerated cellulose film with a plastic coating in contact with the food that must comply with the requirements of Commission Directive 2002/72/EC on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs. This Directive is implemented by The Plastic Materials and Articles in Contact with Food Regulations 1998 (and its three amendments). Thus the proposals include those that give effect to this requirement by making suitable amendment to the 1987 Regulations.

The proposal also takes account of technological developments that have taken place since the adoption of the original Directive in 1993. These include the fact that three substances in the controversial phthalates group are no longer used by industry and can therefore be removed from the positive list and that a new type of regenerated cellulose film with a coating consisting of plastics, which is compostable and biodegradable, is available on the market.


It is proposed to implement the requirements of this Directive in one set of regulations. The requirement of Directive 2004/14/EC will have to be in force by 29 July 2005.

Who will be affected by the new Regulations?

Within the European Union consumers should benefit from these Regulations. The EU measures should have equal effect across the European Union, ensuring that UK consumers will have the same health protection from the excessive migration into food of substances dealt with in these proposals, as consumers in the rest of the EU. The potential costs for industry are negligible. Charities and voluntary organisations are unaffected by this proposal. There are no extra cost implications for local enforcement authorities from this proposal.

Proposed timetable for the New Regulations Important dates in the introduction of the New Regulations are:

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