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Ceramics are widely used as food contact materials and articles in everyday household products such as tableware and cookware.

At the European level, these requirements are governed by Directive 84/500/EEC and its amendment 2005/31/EC. To be sold on the European market, these ceramic products must be accompanied by a declaration of compliance (DOC) guaranteeing that they do not exceed migration limits for lead and cadmium (ANNEX II, Directive 2005/31/EC). In addition, Member States such as France, Germany, Denmark and Greenland have additional national requirements.

In the US, food contact ceramics are governed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the Federal level. Consent agreements from California Proposition 65 (Prop 65) also result in the reformulation of migration of lead and cadmium, including those for the exterior decorations in the lip and rim region. 

In this 3-part series, we will examine various types of cookware materials and their restrictions in both EU & US markets.

table 1: the regulatory requirements for food contact ceramics in the eu and us markets

Ceramic Categories

Category I: Materials and articles which cannot be filled; Articles which can be filled, the internal depth of which, as measured from the lowest point to the horizontal plane passing through the upper rim, does not exceed 25 mm

Category II: Articles, other than those under Category I & III, which can be filled

Category III: Cooking ware; Packaging and storage vessels with a capacity > 3L

Ceramic articles which have an internal depth as measured from the lowest point to the horizontal plane passing through the upper rim that does not exceed 25 mm.

Small Hollowware:
A capacity of less than 1.1 litres

Large Hollowware other than pitchers:
A capacity of 1.1 litres or more

Cups/mugs ; Pitchers


Category I: 0.8 mg/dm² (lead); 0.07 mg/dm² (cadmium)

Category II: 4.0 mg/L (lead); 0.3 mg/L (cadmium)

Category III: 1.5 mg/L (lead); 0.1 mg/L (cadmium)

Flatware: 3.0 ppm (lead); 0.5 ppm (Cadmium)

Small Hollowware other than cups and mugs: 2.0 ppm (lead); 0.5 ppm (Cadmium)

Large Hollowware other than pitchers:1.0 ppm (lead); 0.25 ppm (Cadmium)

Cups/mugs; Pitchers
0.5 ppm (lead)

For further information, please contact: 

Mr. Kenji NG
t: +852 2334 4481 ext. 1209 

Mr. Ronald TSE
t: +852 2334 4481 ext. 1813

Mr. Toby LEE
t: +852 2334 4481 ext. 1805

Get a Copy in PDF version: 3-Part Series for Better Cookware - Part 1: Ceramics

About SGS

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