The French Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) has been targeting migration of chemicals apart from lead and cadmium in ceramic materials and articles which are intended to come into contact with food.
Ceramic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food are regulated under Directive 84/500/EEC which sets limits on the migration of lead and cadmium.
As a market supervisory authority, one of the goals of DGCCRF is to protect consumer health. To this end, DGCCRF has been targeting the migration of additional chemical elements in ceramic food contact materials.
At the time of publication, there have been five recall cases reported by France on the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) regarding aluminium in ceramic plates, cups and bowls. DGCCRF cited the legal basis of the recalls as Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004, the Framework Regulation for food contact materials and articles.
Besides targeting migration of aluminum (Al) in ceramics, DGCCRF has also set reference migration limits and test methods for cobalt (Co) and arsenic (As). Although other elements such as barium (Ba), chromium (Cr) and nickel (Ni) are also of concern, there are no reference migration limits suggested by DGCCRF. Also, there have not been any recalls for products releasing excessive amounts of cobalt, arsenic, barium, chromium nor nickel. The details of the targeted elements, reference migration value and test condition are given in Table 1.
Table 1. Elements targeted by DGCCRF, their reference migration value and test condition.
Reference migration value
0.9mg/kg food stimulant
4% acetic acid
22°C for 24 hours.
Perform 3 successive migrations and take the results of the third migration.