- Practical Guide -
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In the current state of the legislation, three cases are distinguished:
If materials and articles are already in contact with foodstuffs (e.g. packaged
foodstuffs) no specific labelling is required;
If materials and articles are not contact with foodstuffs specific labelling provisions of
Article 6.1, 6.2, 6.5 and 6.6 of Directive 89/109/EEC is required;
If materials and articles are clearly intended for foodstuffs, such as forks, corks,
saucers, pans, coffee-machines, the Member States may decide whether or not a
positive labelling is required. Even if the Commission proposed a positive labelling
such as " for food use" some Member States were against because they believed that
this new obligation was unnecessary.
When labelling is required (first indent) or optional (third indent), the materials and articles
are labelled 'for food use'. This label must be clearly visible throughout the marketing stages.
Where intended for consumers, it must appear in an easily understandable form. A written
declaration shall attest the compliance of the products with the rules applicable to them.
These rules may be those specified in the specific EC Directives or in absence of them, in the
Free trade clause (Art. 7)
1. Member States shall not, for reasons relating to composition, behaviour in the presence of foodstuffs or labelling, prohibit
or restrict either trade in or the use of materials and articles complying with this directive or with the specific Directives.
Paragraph 1 shall not affect national provisions, which are applicable in the absence of the specific directives.
This Article reasserts Article 28 of the Treaty in the sector of materials and articles intended
to come into contact with foodstuffs. Materials or articles complying with the rules on
composition, labelling and migration stated in the framework Directive, in particular in
Article 2 are deemed to conform to the rules for the free trade throughout the European
Union. A Member State must not hinder the importation of a material or article not
complying with its internal (also specific) rules, if it complies with the general rules provided
by the Framework Directive and it cannot demonstrate a risk for the health in accordance
with the procedure in Art. 5. Possible conflict situations are subject to Art. 28, 30 and 95 of
the Treaty, a more precise interpretation of which is given by the new jurisprudence evolved
from numerous arrests by the European Court of Justice.
10. Further comments on the current legislation
10.1 Migration units
Specific Directives may set out an overall migration limit and specific migration limits for
the release of substances from the given material or article. Migration limits may be
expressed in mg/dmē, mg/kg or mg/l. A limit in mg/dmē emphasises the inertness of the
surface, whereas a limit in mg/kg or mg/l underlines the contamination of the foodstuffs.
Limits in mg/kg or mg/l are directly related to the exposure of the consumers and the risk of