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What is the maximum direct food contact that lead in food packaging is allowed to have?

November 8, 2007
Question 

What is the permissible limit of lead content in food packagings (like paperboard) having direct food contact?

 

Answer 

FDA has established compliance policy guides (CPG) for lead in various types of food contact materials such as tableware and flatware. However, the agency has not established any standards for food packaging, per se. Nonetheless, lead, if present in a packaging material, should be sufficiently low that it will not result in adulteration of food or pose a concern for human health. In addition, some states and local jurisdictions in the United States have adopted laws and regulations affecting the production, use, and disposal of packaging. Nineteen states have enacted statutes banning or restricting the intentional addition of lead, cadmium, mercury, or hexavalent chromium in inks, dyes, pigments, adhesives, stabilizers, and other components of packaging. States with heavy metal reduction laws are California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. For more on state regulation of lead in packaging please see the Packaginglaw.com article, "Packaging and Environmental Legislation in the United States: An Overview."