Under EU law a new directive has been introduced to safeguard all food consumers. The new regulation is applied to any food item supplied in the EU that contains plastic materials and other items that makes contact with a food substance. This was first introduced on the 1st January 2012 and replaced the old 2002/72/EC legislation.
It’s been introduced in Europe as an added safety measure important for guaranteeing food safety. It’s supports the duty of care to customers provided by both brand owners and retailers. Label printers will also play a vital role in ensuring food safety within the EU as the materials used to produce the labels will have to meet with strict regulations, despite whether it has direct contact with the food or not.
If the material is to come into contact with food it is therefore not allowed to transfer any elements in large quantities that results in endangering a human life. Any unwanted contamination could change the taste of the food, the look or even the smell.
The new directive concerns all plastics and other materials that could come into contact with food. and as food labels are considered part of the packaging they therefore must comply with the new changes. All types of labels will now have a declaration of conformity (DoCs) stating which controlled but authorised substances are present in their makeup.
A label may only be exempt if the packaging forms a functional barrier between the food and label itself as this prevents the spread of undesired substances. Authorised substances that are allowed to be used within plastic packaging can now be found in the ‘Union List’, however, any restricted substance used must be declared.
If a label printer is unable to provide their DoCs the product can no longer be used within the EU and they will risk their product being recalled and possibly fined. They will need to have received the DoCs from both their labelstock and ink supplier to ensure they are conforming with the new legislation, these documents will act as your proof. By following the correct procedure you
will therefore be protecting all EU food consumers.
All filmic labels will also require a DoCs, they will need to be produced in accordance with the new legislation if your label is: exclusively plastic, plastic with multi-layer materials held by adhesives, if a label is coated or printed or has plastic layers that consist of two plus layers of varied materials.