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Philippines FDA Issues Guidelines on Voluntary Certification of Packaging for Prepackaged Food

Stacks of binders of regulations

On November 29, 2022, the Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Circular 2022-011, titled, “Guidelines on the Application and Issuance of Voluntary Certification of Food Contact Articles (FCA) Used for Prepackaged Processed Food Products.” The Guidelines set forth procedures and instructions for the submission of applications for voluntary certification of food contact articles in the Philippines.  

The Guidelines apply to both locally manufactured and imported food contact articles, in finished or final form, with or without applied adhesives and/or printing inks. The Guidelines are limited to: 

  • Direct Food Contact Articles that include all primary packaging materials of pre-packaged processed food products that include the following materials: metal, glass, ceramic, enameled, synthetic resin, phenolic resin, melamine resin, urea resin, synthetic resin made from formaldehyde, polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyvinylidene chloride, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate, nylon polymethyl pentene, polycarbonate, polyvinyl alcohol, rubber, paper and paperboard
  • Articles with incidental contact to processed food products that include the same materials listed above

The Guidelines specify that the FDA Common Services Laboratory (CSL) will determine the suitability of FCAs for use in the packing, packaging, transporting, or holding of food. They also explain that any of the following references, alone or in combination, shall be adopted and used in the evaluation:

  1. Latest edition of the “Specifications and Standards for Foods, Food Additives, etc. Under the Food Sanitation Act (Abstracts)” of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
  2. Latest edition of “Specifications, Standards and Testing Methods for Foodstuffs, Implements, Containers, and Packaging, Toys, Detergents” of JETRO
  3. Code of Federal Regulation Title 21 Part 170 to 199 of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  4. Other references for Food Contact Articles recognized by ASEAN member states
  5. Regulatory requirements of the importing country for products intended for export, if necessary

A checklist of requirements for applications for the voluntary certification can be found in Annex A of the Guidelines. These include: the percentage of all raw materials used, including colorants and additives; intended use of the product; overview of the production process, including overview of the recycling process for recycled materials; a report of analysis from a Philippines FDA accredited laboratory. (For background information on how food packaging is regulated in the Philippines, see the article, The Regulation of Food Packaging in the Pacific Rim.)