As part of comparability of the data which ensures free safe trade in the European Union (EU), the Community Reference Laboratory (CRL) and National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) for Food Contact Materials (FCM) under Regulation EC No 882/2004 have a duty to exemplify a unified position on sampling and test conditions when these are not explicitly established or detailed in existing Directives/Regulations, and without prejudice to those.
For plastic food contact materials the time/temperature conditions are specified in Directive 82/711/EEC, as amended.
Test conditions are selected based on the worst foreseeable use of the material or article. For kitchen articles, kitchenware and cookware, i.e. articles placed in contact with food in the home, Rapid Alerts have sometimes shown differences in enforcement protocols. Therefore the definition of the worst foreseeable test conditions must be agreed to ensure harmonisation of official controls.
The objective of these guidelines was to develop unified reference consensus guidelines for NRLs describing test conditions for food contact articles such as kitchenware. They aim to address sampling, treatment of the test specimen(s), exposure testing (e.g time/temperature, simulant etc) and interpretation of results.
They contain information defining the parameters of an overall or specific migration test according to the nature of the materials and articles in contact with food, and according to the worst foreseeable conditions of use. These guidelines are intended as a dynamic document and therefore will evolve and expand into further editions to cover more aspects. This is the first edition.
These guidelines will be reviewed at regular intervals. The CRL-NRL Network for FCM is charged with this review and the undertaking of any necessary updates.
JRC European Commission
1st edition 2009