Food safe symbol
The international symbol for 'food safe' material is a wine glass and a fork symbol. The symbol identifies that the material used in the product is safe for food contact. This includes food and water containers, packaging materials, cutlery etc. The regulation is applicable to any product intended for food contact whether it be made of metals, ceramics, paper and board, and plastics. Use of the symbol is more significant in products which should be explicitly identified whether food safe or not, i.e. wherever there is an ambuiguity whether the container could be used to hold food stuff. The symbol is used in North America, Europe and parts of Asia. It is mandatory for products sold in Europe after the 'Framework Regulation EC 1935/2004'. Regulations on food contact material is in force in India after the 'Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (Conditions For Sale and License)'.
In plastic containers, over and above the prescribed resin identification codes (viz; , , , ), the food safe assurance is required because the resin identification codes do not explicitly communicate the food safe property (or more significantly, the lack of it).
Even though the legal requirement in various nations would be different, the food safe symbol generally assures these:
- That the container surface is free of any toxic contaminants which could be contacted from the manufacturing process.
- That the material the container is made of shall not potentially become a source of toxic contamination through usage (degeneration). This is assured by estimating and regulating the 'migration limits' of the material. In EU regulation, the overall migration is limited to 10 mg of substances/dm² of the potential contact surface. The specific migration for various materials would be different for different temperature levels (of food as well as storage) and for different food items depending on variables such as pH of the food stuff. The toxicity considerations of a specific material may include the carcinogenity of the substance. The regulations governing these aspects may vary in different nations.
- Food standards agency. 'Food contact materials: Your Questions Answered'.
- Europa. 'European Union Reference Laboratory for Food Contact Materials'.
- Europa. 'Food Contact Materials - appels.
- Europa. Food safety.
- Business Link. 'Food labelling and packaging in international trade'.
- Dolceta Online Consumer Education. 'Food Contact Material.'
- Ministry of Food Processing Industries. Food regulation.
- Food and Drug Administration. 'Regulatory Report: Assessing the Safety of Food Contact Substances.'
- Food and Drug Administration. 'Regulatory Report: FDA's Food Contact Substance Notification Program'.