The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM) has published an updated technical guide on metals used in food-contact materials and articles. The guide, titled, Metals and alloys used in food contact materials and articles: A practical guide for manufacturers and regulators, was prepared by the EDQM Committee of Experts on Packaging Materials for Food and Pharmaceutical Products (P-SC-EMB). This guide supersedes previous guidelines on food-contact metals published by the Council of Europe (CoE) in 2001 and revised in 2002. In 2008, activities related to food packaging materials were transferred from CoE to EDQM.
Food-contact metals regulations are not harmonized in the European Union. Therefore, their use must comply with the appropriate national laws of each Member State, subject to the principle of mutual recognition. CoE Resolution CM/Res(2013)9, adopted on June 11, 2013, recommends that Member State governments "adopt legislative and other measures aimed at reducing the health risks arising from consumer exposure to certain metal ions released into food from the contact with metals and alloys during manufacture, storage, distribution and use according to the principles and guidelines set out in the Technical Guide on Metals and Alloys used in food contact materials and articles." The resolution adds that the recommendations in the guide should not prevent governments from adopting stricter rules and regulations on a national level.
The 2013 edition of the guide on food-contact metals and alloys provides technical information on specific release limits (SRLs) for metals, and analytical methods for release testing of food-contact materials and articles made from metals and alloys.