Packaging traceability law comes into force

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Traceability European union

Processors will be required to have a traceability system in place
for packaging materials on 27 October 2006.

It is part of the EU food safety policy to require traceability of foods and food contactmaterials.

The new requirement is a provision of EC Regulation 1935/2004, which deals with materials and articles that may come into contact with foods.The law was adopted by the bloc last year to update a previous EU directive on food contactmaterials.

The regulation entered into force on 3 December 2004, except for Article 17 on traceability,which enters into force on 27 October. The later implementation date was given to provide time forbusinesses to put traceability systems in place.

The new regulation is directly applicable throughout the EU and was made to aid regulators andprocessors in controlling and recalling defective products.

Traceability requires that processors must be able to provide records to regulators to allow themto follow a material or article through all stages of manufacture, processing and distribution. Therecords should allow the identification of businesses from which and to which packaging and otherfood contact materials originate from.

The regulation covers materials such as rubbers, ceramics, plastics, paper, glass, metals, inks, textiles, waxes, cork and wood.

Last year the bloc's General Food Law entered into force. The specific requirements covered inthe guidance document include the traceability of food products, withdrawal of dangerous foodproducts from the market, operator responsibilities and requirements applicable to imports andexports.

The new mandatory traceability requirement applies to all food, animal feed, food-producinganimals and all types of food chain operators from the farming sector to processing, transport,storage, distribution and retail to the consumer. The guidance document lays down detailedimplementing rules for operators.

Information on the name, address of producer, nature of products and date of transaction must besystematically registered within each operator's traceability system. This information must be keptfor a period of five years and on request, it must immediately be made available to the competentauthorities.

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