Food contact material business operators

Is a food wholesaler from which restaurants buy not just foods but also contact materials a contact material operator?

Yes, wholesalers selling food contact materials are contact material operators.  They have a so-called a double role as both a food business operator and a contact material operator because they sell products to other operators and not directly to the consumer. An operator selling contact materials directly to the consumer is a retailer and is not classified as a food contact material operator.

If a food company imports packaging materials for its own use, is this a question of food contact material operations?

No. It is a normal food business. If a food business operator also supplies packaging materials to another food business operator, then this would be a matter of food contact material operations.

We are an importer of contact materials. We have offices in two different places in Finland but the warehouse is located in another EU country. How should I notify to register food contact material operations? With information about a warehouse in another EU country? All deliveries are dispatched directly from stock to customers and are not stored at any stage in Finland.

Control in Finland can be carried out at the importer's office where the documents are kept. The operator must indicate where their headquarters are and submit notification to that locality and also centralise the paperwork there so that it is available for inspection if necessary. In any case, they are an importer even if they don't see the product in practice.

I plan to add articles coming into contact with food to sell in my Finnish online store. The products will come from China and I would like to verfify that the materials are safe. How do I proceed?

Starting up imports of food contact materials requires you to notify the local food control authority. You can find the contact details of your local food control authority here: https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/henkiloasiakkaat/tietoa-elintarvikkeista/ota-yhteytta-elintarvikevalvontaan/ (choose the municipality from the search box).

For more information on how notify the start-up of operations, go to the Finnish Food Authority's food contact materials page: 

https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/yritykset/elintarvikeala/valmistus/pakkaukset-ja-muut-elintarvikekontaktimateriaalit/kontaktimateriaalitoimijat/ilmoitus-kontaktimateriaalitoiminnasta/

To ensure product safety and other compliance, a request must be made to the manufacturer (or the Chinese distributor) to provide the declaration of compliance referred to in Article 16 of Regulation (EU) 1935/2004. In this declaration of compliance, the product manufacturer declares that the product compliance with the general requirements of the Regulation as regards chemical safety and provides the justification for it. The justification is always compliance with material-specific legislation (e.g. compliance with the requirements of Plastics Regulation (EU) 10/2011), or if there is no material-specific legislation, compliance with the requirements of a recommendation at EU level or a national provision of an EU country. In addition, the declaration of compliance states the conditions of use in which the product may be used in contact with food (e.g. type of food, temperature and contact time). You can read more about the declaration of compliance here: https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/yritykset/elintarvikeala/valmistus/pakkaukset-ja-muut-elintarvikekontaktimateriaalit/kontaktimateriaalien-turvallisuus-ja-muu-vaatimustenmukaisuus/vaatimustenmukaisuutta-osoittavat-asiakirjat/

You can read more details about contact materials, related safety factors and legislation, and the obligations of contact material operators here: https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/yritykset/elintarvikeala/valmistus/pakkaukset-ja-muut-elintarvikekontaktimateriaalit/

The municipal food control authority will advise you on how to proceed once you have first read websites above.

Operator X is a subcontractor that manufactures ceramic products for operator Y. The products are semi-finished when they go to operator Y, who then fires and glazes them. Operator Y has registered with the food control authority, but what about operator X whose products are semi-finished? Must operator X  submit a registration notification to the local food control authority and is X then a contact material operator?

A manufacturer of semi-finished products is also a contact material operator, who must submit a contact material operator's registration notification to the municipal food control authority.

Is the raw cellulose used in paper/paperboard manufacturing categorised as a contact material and is manufacturing cellulose part of the contact material industry?

Cellulose manufacturing is considered a part of the contact material industry and cellulose is considered a contact material (a so called intermediate material), if it is intended for manufacturing paper/paperboard that comes into contact with food. However, manufacturing a single chemical is not considered a part of the contact material industry.

Must a food contact material operator notify the authorities of any disruptions?

Food contact material operators must have instructions for their operations in the event of disruptions and product recall as part of their quality management system under Ministry of Trade and Industry Decree 2023/2006, just as food business operators must have similar instructions as part of their own check requirement. Disruptions that may have implications for consumer safety must be reported to the competent food control authority. It is important to ensure that information is provided throughout the supply chain from the manufacturer / importer to the retailer via the distributor.

Page last updated 4/24/2019