Food safe ceramics

My ceramics have the FCM (Food Contact Materials) certification that guarantees that the product is suitable for contact with food. This certification must be made for each variant of glaze or surface that will come into contact with food and must be issued the so-called ‘Declaration of Conformity’ (DoC) for each of these variants. In this document, you can see my DoC.

These Declarations certify that the product complies with the legal requirements, which provide value limits for the solubility of cadmium and lead. Lead and cadmium are not used in my production and this is validated by laboratory analysis of finished products.

The issue of certification is a bit complex, so in the next few lines I will try to make a bit of clarity and answer some questions.

What is a FCM and what is certification for?

FCM (Food Contact Materials) or in italian MOCA (Materiale o Oggetto a Contatto con gli Alimenti) are acronyms that identify all materials and objects intended to come into contact with food as defined by REG (EC) No 1935/2004, art. 2 paragraph 2 letter (a).

Ceramic materials in contact with food include tableware and kitchenware such as plates, cups, glasses, bowls, baking trays or any container likely to contain food.  In the ceramic industry, metals such as lead and cadmium have always been used for technical or decorative purposes. But nowadays, there are alternatives to avoid using these metals in food grade ceramics.

For this reason, in many countries regulations regulating the release limits of chemical substances from FCM objects and ensuring food safety are enacted.

Who should comply with the legislation?

All those who sell ceramics intended for food use, even those who make ceramics in an amateur way and want to sell it and especially those who sell items to those who must possess the “FCM Declaration of Conformity” as restaurants or retailers.

How do I know if ceramics are ‘for food use’?

The international symbol of products “for food use” is the symbol of a wine glass and a fork. This symbol indicates that the product is considered safe for contact with food and is mandatory for products sold in Europe after the Regulation EC 1935/2004.

It’s important to know that the use of this logo and the words ‘for food use’ can only be done by those who hold this certification. ” It’s subject to sanctions […. ] the economic operator who labels, advertises, or presents MOCA in a manner likely to mislead consumers about the safe and correct use of materials and articles in accordance with food law (Regulation¬† EC 1935/2004 Art. 2, c. 4)”

What obligations does the ceramic FCM manufacturer have?

1. The producer must be registered in a regional FCM register . The registration must be transmitted to the ASL through the SUAP of the municipality. There are heavy administrative penalties for failure to register.
2. Produce a “FCM Declaration of Conformity”[DoC]
3. Have the “supporting documentation” for the “FMC Declaration of Conformity” consisting of:

  • A documented system of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) in which the production process is described and a system of Traceability and Tracking is organized,
  • A labelling system (to be attached to the items sold)
  • Analysis of the supply of lead and cadmium for food ceramics glazes.

What regulations govern FCM products?

Reference is made to Community legislation:

  • Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004 for materials and goods in contact with food, and
  • Regulation (EC) No 2023/2006 on good manufacturing practice. OJ L 262, 27.12.2006.

At national level this legislation has been transposed with:

  • DPR 777/82e following updates and changes
  • DM 21/03/1973and subsequent updates and amendments;
  • DM 04/04/1985 on ceramic articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs
  • DM 01/02/2007Reception of Commission Directive 2005/31/EC of 29 April 2005 amending Council Directive No 84/500/EEC as regards the declaration of conformity and the criteria for the efficiency of methods of analysis for ceramic articles. No intended to come into contact with foodstuffs
  • DL 10/2/2017, n. 29Discipline sanction for the violation of the obligations deriving from the regulation (EC) n. 1935/2004