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Wooden FCMs: Dutch and French regulations

Disclaimer: This document provides guidance and is not a legally binding interpretation and shall therefore not be relied upon as legal advice.

Wood

Wood is one of the seventeen Food Contact Materials (FCM) listed in Annex I of Framework Regulation (EC) 1935/2004. 

There is no harmonised EU directive or regulation for wooden FCM articles. EU member states which have implemented national legislation for wood are France, The Netherlands and Croatia.

The Dutch Commodities Act (Warenwet) on packaging and consumer articles Chapter IX and the French information note no. 2012-93 have set up the most comprehensive measures for wooden FCMs.

It is mandatory to clarify whether the wood product has been surface treated with oil, coating, wax or by other means and whether glue has been used. If this is the case, the manufacturer should also ensure that the product complies with the requirements for the materials used for this surface treatment and or the gluing.

The Dutch Commodities Act (Warenwet) on packaging and consumer articles Chapter IX

The Dutch Chapter IX is about wood and cork FCMs. Please see this link for the full text, however, please note that this is a non-formal respectively and unofficial translation.

Both solid wood and engineered wood are allowed as food contact material.

For engineered wood, the authorised binding materials are listed in legislation (positive list). Only the authorised binders or adhesives may be used for making engineered wood (composite wood). Solid wood parts or components may be glued only with authorised binders and adhesives.

Wood may be chemically preserved with authorised preservatives (positive list). 

Other additives for processing wood are also listed (positive list). Only the positive additives might be used for processing wood. The preserving agents' bis(tributyltin )oxide, copper naphthenate and zinc naphthenate are only permitted in the country of origin of the base materials. These preserving agents may not be used for processing imported wood.

Wooden FCMs may be coated and or coloured and or painted, however, the surface treatment of wood is subject to restrictions. Chapter IX is referring to other chapters in the Dutch Commodities Act (Warenwet) on packaging and consumer articles, viz. chapter 10 “coatings” and chapter 11 “colourants and dyes”

The finished article is subject to a global migration limit and several specific migration limits. 
The test plan or protocol for demonstrating compliance with Dutch legislation depends on which chemicals are being used with the wood processing. 
Importers must know all manufacturing details of their wooden food contact articles to be able to demonstrate compliance with Dutch legislation.

The French information note no. 2012-93

The French information note 2012-93 is only about wood FCMs. Please see this link for the full text in the original French language.
Both solid wood and engineered wood (wood composite) are allowed as food contact material.
The French information note 2012-93 lists wood species that are permitted for contact with all types of foodstuffs (section 3.2.1). Other woods can be used, provided they comply with Regulation (EC) 1935/2004 Article 3.

The French information note does not list authorised chemicals for processing wood itself, e.g. binders, adhesives, additives, preservatives, etc. However, the information note is referring to several pieces of European legislation, and French national legislation, which can be consulted for authorised use:

  • Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 (REACH), restriction list annex XVII (entries 19, 23 and 31); 
  • Regulation (EU) n ° 528/2012 Biocidal regulation and its amendments; 
  • Conseil Supérieur d'Hygiène Publique de France (CSHPF); 
  • French Order of September 8, 1999, amended, taken for the application of article 11 of decree n ° 73-138 of 12 February 1973 as amended implementing the law of 1 August 1905 on fraud and adulterations with regard to the processes and products used for cleaning materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs, products and beverages for food for humans and animals; 
  • Plastic Implementation Measures (PIM) regulation (EU) 10/2011; 
  • Resolution AP (2004) 1 of the Council of Europe on varnishes intended to come into contact with food; 
  • Other texts (circulars, circular letters, instructions, etc.) are grouped together in the brochure n ° 1227 of the Directorate of the official journals of the French Republic.

Other French pieces of legislation for authorised chemicals (positive lists) for preserving and or processing wood for food contact applications are:

  • Avis DGCCRF du 17/01/2002;  
  • FR Note 31/05/2001 ; 
  • FR Avis 9/11/1999 A; 
  • Avis 14/09/1999; 
  • FR BOCCRF n° 17 du 22/01/1997;  
  • FR BOCCRF n° 16 du 15/12/1995; 
  • FR BOCCRF n° 10 du 24/06/1994; 
  • FR BOCCRF no 22 du 18/12/1992.

The French information note 2012-93 prohibits the use of anti-fungal treatments for all types of wood for food contact applications, with the exception of temporary anti-fungal treatments for wood intended for the manufacture of fruit and vegetable containers.

The finished article is subject to several specific migration limits. The test plan or protocol for demonstrating compliance with French legislation depends on which chemicals are being used with the wood processing. Importers must know all manufacturing details of their wooden food contact articles to be able to demonstrate compliance. 


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