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The advice sheets below have the latest information on food standards. If you need more advice call 01753 475111 (Regulatory Services option).
In the guide
In order to keep food safe there are restrictions on the type of packaging that can be used 'for food contact'
This guidance is for England
If you package food yourself, you must ensure that you use packaging that is suitable for food use. Suitable packaging will be marked 'for food contact' or have a symbol on it that looks like a wine glass and a fork.
It includes things like cling film, ceramic and plastic containers.
Definition of food contact materials
Food contact materials are those that:
This includes direct or indirect contact.
What is required?
You should ask the business supplying you with the food contact materials to supply written evidence that the materials comply with the relevant requirements.
This is known as a 'declaration of compliance' and you can get it from your packaging supplier. You also have to get one if you buy food that is already packaged for sale in any of those materials.
The declaration of compliance will normally contain information about:
You should keep the declarations with your other records as these may be asked for by trading standards or environmental health officers when they visit you.
The European Commission website has more detailed information on food contact materials legislation.
Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment. For more information please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement & penalties'.
Last reviewed / updated: October 2019
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.