European Commission > JRC > IHCP > Our Activities > Food and Consumer products > Food contact materials > A good start is half the job done: JRC publishes technical guidelines for controls of polyamide and melamine kitchenware, starting from sampling
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A good start is half the job done: JRC publishes technical guidelines for controls of polyamide and melamine kitchenware, starting from sampling

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A container filled up to the roof with countless items of kitchenware from China arrives in a European port. A local team of controllers has to check the merchandise being transported and whether it is safe for consumer use. How many samples should be taken to make the control valid? How exactly should the control be conducted such that it is valid throughout all EU Member States? What sorts of results would indicate whether the shipment be returned to the producer or not?

These and many other technical questions are tackled by the latest guidelines for controls of polyamide and melamine kitchenware, coordinated by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. 

Comparability of results is essential for measurements carried out for official control purposes. In the area of food contact materials and articles, this comparability depends on the availability of samples representative of the consignment, on the test conditions applied and on the performance of the analytical methods used.

On 21 June 2011 the European Commission Directorate General for Health and Consumers published the pdf icon "EU guidelines on conditions and procedures for the import of polyamide and melamine kitchenware originating in or consigned from People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China" endorsed by Member States and supporting the application of pdf icon Regulation (EU) No 284/2011

For all practical information on sampling, migration testing and methodologies for the analytical determination of primary aromatic amines from polyamide and formaldehyde from melamine, the document refers to the technical guidelines published on the same date by the Joint Research Centre - Institute for Health and Consumer Protection.

Developed by the European Reference Laboratory for Food Contact Materials in collaboration with its Network of National Reference Laboratories, the guidelines are primarily addressed to official control, national reference and third party laboratories, to which they provide unified sampling and testing procedures for kitchenware made of polyamide and/or melamine.

In view of the heterogeneous nature and differentiated types of consignments of these articles, these guidelines represent an important development in the field of technical guidance for official controls. In particular, the harmonisation of sampling will greatly increase the level of confidence in guaranteeing the safety of imported goods, as well as in any ensuing legal decisions for articles non compliant with the EU legislation, when necessary.

For more information on JRC activities on Food Contact Materials, visit the EURL-FCM website and/or get the latest on


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