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How are Hot and Cold Paper Cups Regulated in the U.S.?

November 24, 2014
Question 

We produce hot and cold paper cups outside the U.S. and are looking to open another plant in the U.S. What kind of FDA approval is required for the paper to enter the U.S. and be manufactured to produce paper cups? ALL cup stock paper is imported from CHINA and all comes with SGS certification.

Answer 

Paper cups are generally exempted under the Housewares Exemption, which exempts substances used in contact with food as part of a "houseware" product from the requirement of premarket clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a food additive. Although, the adulteration provisions of Part 174.5 do apply to housewares, and FDA will take action against houseware products that may adulterate food. Therefore, it remains the responsibility of producers of housewares to take every reasonable precaution to ensure that their products are suitable for use with food and will not create a health hazard under the intended conditions of use.

However, components of food-contact paper products that are not considered housewares, would need to comply with the regulations found in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Part 176 if they met the definition of indirect food additives. You may want to consult legal counsel to help determine your specific legal obligations.

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