NRL for Materials & Articles in Contact with Food

Fera is the UK National Reference Laboratory for Materials and Articles in Contact with Food. Fera acts as National Reference Laboratory under assimilated Regulation (EU) 2017/625.

NRL for Materials & Articles in Contact with Food

Our work involves targeted and non-targeted analysis of known and unknown migrants. Analysis can be carried out in complex matrices (foods, food simulants and food contact materials and articles) utilising a range of advanced chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques including: Headspace gas chromatography with mass spectrometry detection (HS-GC-MS), Liquid injection GC-MS, GC with high resolution mass spectrometry detection e.g. GC-(Q)TOF-MS, Liquid chromatography with high resolution mass spectrometry detection e.g.LC-(Q)TOF-MS, and Inductively coupled plasma (ICP)-MS

Find out more about the Thomson Suite.

One of the largest facilities of its kind in the UK. It is a bespoke laboratory running to GLP quality standards that houses 30 state-of-the-art mass spectrometry instruments.

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Materials and Articles in Contact with Food

The term 'food contact material' (FCM) describes any material that may come into contact with a foodstuff. The most obvious example is food packaging but the term also encompasses materials (and articles) used in food processing, transport, preparation and consumption.

These materials may be made from plastic (including recycled), paper/board, rubber, metal, glass, ceramics or biobased materials etc. Many different materials and substances are used during the manufacture of FCMs, to ensure the final product has the desired chemical and physical properties. Any chemical constituents present in the FCM have the potential to transfer to the foods with which they come into contact. In addition, the chemicals present in any adhesives, coatings or printing inks applied to these substrates also have the potential to transfer. This transfer is known as chemical migration.

EU Regulation - Food Contact Materials

EURL Guidance Documents

  • Applicability of generally recognised diffusion models for the estimation of specific migration in support of EU Directive 2002/72/EC
  • Guidelines on testing conditions for articles in contact with foodstuffs (with a focus on kitchenware)
  • Guidelines for performance criteria and validation procedures of analytical methods used in controls of food contact materials
  • Guideline on testing migration of primary aromatic amines from polyamide utensils and for formaldehyde from melamine-based kitchenware in support of a future Regulation on imports from China and Hong-Kong

The FSA Food Contact Materials Unit

The FSA has information on banned or restricted products such as plastic kitchenware from China and Hong Kong under Regulation (EU) No. 284/2011 including First Points of Introduction (FPIs).

Food Guidance
An explanatory note has been prepared and is regularly updated by the Food Standards Agency. It gives a general introduction to the EU harmonised legislation controlling food contact materials and articles, and describes its implementation in the United Kingdom. The FSA regularly issues guidance to food industry representatives and other stakeholders on a range of topics, often as a result of new regulations coming into force.

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Food Contact Materials Testing

Food contact materials testing is used worldwide to make sure that food is not contaminated by any of the products it comes into contact with.

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