The RAPRA report ‘Regulation of Food Packaging in Europe and the US’ provides a clearly written summary of the current legislation surrounding the use of plastics in contact with food. Food packaging regulations are constantly under revision, and differ significantly between Europe and the USA, even between countries within the EU. This report covers food packaging regulation in the EU, the general framework Directive and the main ‘daughter’ Directive on plastics. National food packaging legislation for most of the important European countries is briefly discussed.

The regulation of food contact materials in the EU is currently in a state of development, with various aspects still subject to national provisions until the European Commission has completed the harmonization process. In the absence of EU or National regulation, food packaging safety is largely assessed by Council of Europe Recommendations, or draft Recommendations, European National approvals or US approval. The report’s authors describe the CoE work on food packaging, followed by the complex US regulatory system and its various approval and certification schemes.

The objective of food packaging legislation is to protect the consumer by controlling the contamination of food by chemicals transferred from the packaging. Standard migration tests are available based on prescribed food simulants; these tests include overall migration testing and specific migration tests (for individual chemical species). The report briefly discusses methods of evaluating safety of food packaging and outlines the main plastics in use.

The new report will be of interest to those working to formulate food contact plastics, food processors and testing laboratories, packaging manufacturers and users, also organizations working to ensure safe conditions for food production.

Rapra Review Reports are accompanied by abstracts from papers and books in the Rapra Polymer Library database, to facilitate further reading on this subject. This report is supported by around 400 abstracts. Subject and company indexes are included.

‘Regulation of Food Packaging in Europe and the US’ retails at £85 (plus postage and packaging) and is available from or from Publications Sales, Rapra Technology, Shawbury, Shrewsbury SY4 4NR, UK. –


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