EU Legislation specific to food contact materials sets numerous restrictions for substances released from these materials. The complexity of the analytical methods as well as the diversity of the materials to analyse pose a relevant challenge to the analytical chemist.
The activities of food contact materials were created in 1995 to respond to scientific questions to support EU policies on food contact. In 2004 the Regulation on Official Feed and Food Controls (EC/882/2004) also established the JRC as European Union Reference laboratory (EURL) for Food Contact Materials (FCMs). It is accredited ISO 17025 since 2003.
The activities on FCM operate under two mandates:
Policy support on Food Contact Materials
The activities of FCM support and give independent scientific advice to the policy-makers in the European Commission's Directorates-General in the areas of FCM policies. Its research programme focuses on areas of policy relevance, and can serve several Directorates-General, with the main customer being DG Health and Consumers (DG SANCO). As part of an institute of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, the FCM activities carry out tasks complementary to those of the Member States, especially where an independent approach at European level is needed. It works in close collaboration with national and international research organisations, institutes and competent authorities, universities as well as with stakeholders.
Our mission is to support scientifically and technically the legislative process related to food contact materials. As part of its mission, the JRC aims to improve the currently achievable quality and comparability of measures/modelled data related to consumers’ exposure to materials in contact with foodstuffs. Research have included monitoring of target contaminants at the European level, interaction between food and migrants, exposure assessment, method development and harmonisation, participation in EU projects, dissemination of results and of information by dedicated websites, courses, and expert workshops.
- Eur-Lex site provides access to European Union law
European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL- FCM) towards official controls
Millions of testing measurements are performed in Europe every year. The results of these measurements influence important decisions in industry and food safety control. Testing results should therefore be reliable and comparable everywhere. This can only be realised by standardisation, harmonisation and assuring the quality and reliability of measurements.
EURLs are analytical laboratories designated by European Union directives and regulations. They are an integral part of European risk management system. As EURL for food contact materials, a prime objective is to build confidence in the comparability of measurements by the production and dissemination of internationally accepted quality assurance tools, including validated methods, reference materials, reference measurements, interlaboratory comparisons and training. The EURL functions with a supporting network of European National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) nominated by their competent authorities.