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Food contact materials are materials that are intended to be in contact with food.  These can be items that are quite obvious like a glass, a can for soft drinks, but also machinery in a food factory or a coffee machine. 

These articles can be constructed from a variety of materials like plastics, rubber, paper, coatings, metal etc. In many cases, a combination is used.  During the contact of the food contact materials with the food, molecules can migrate from the food contact material to the food. Because of this, in many countries regulations are made to ensure food safety.

In EU, migration of certain heavy metals from plastics for food contact is restricted under Regulation (EU) No 10/2011. At the moment, 7 heavy metals are restricted.

On April 2015, EU notifies World Trade Organisation (WTO) on its proposal to change the regulation on food contact plastics including an amendment to the requirement of migration of heavy metals. The update will include 2 more metals into restriction.

Table A. Summary on the current and proposed requirements on migration of heavy metals:

Heavy MetalExisting Limit (mg/kg)Proposed Limit (mg/kg)
Barium 1 1
Cobalt 0.05 0.05
Copper 5 5
Iron 48 48
Lithium 0.6 0.6
Manganese 0.6 0.6
Zinc 25 5
Aluminium -- 1
Nickel -- 0.02

SGS can offer the testing on specific migration of heavy metals from food contact plastics and provide an extensive variety of solutions on complying with the new EU requirements.

For more information, please contact one of our Sales Associates for details.


Get a copy in a PDF version: EU Proposes to Change Migration Limits of Heavy Metals from Plastic FCM (PDF 169 KB)