ECMA Statement on Food Safety - April 2016

The European Carton Makers Association (ECMA) has taken notice of the ongoing attention in the media for migration risks and the contamination of food stuff with mineral oils. Committed to food safety, the folding carton sector would like to make the following remarks:

  • Scientific research has previously indicated that mineral oil contamination may be caused by many sources, including the product packaging and also during storage and transport, but can also be already present in the product itself. As well a combination of different sources might be possible. In this context ECMA has taken notice of the Foodwatch test results ‘Mineralöl in Schokoladen-Osterhasen’ in Germany, which were published in March 2016. At this occasion cartons are not involved in the tested packaging concepts, which means that the latest Foodwatch test results for chocolate bunnies brought further clarification that various contamination sources for mineral oils are involved. The whole food supply chain will have to take responsibility and collaborate to solve this problem. Our industry is committed to food safety, and recognizes its responsibility for our part of the food supply chain. 

  • The food safety context is still changing because of new knowledge coming available on different ways of migration and potential sources. There are also new initiatives and draft legislations at various political levels, both national and European.

  • Taking responsibility for the migration which may occur, a variety of solutions in cartonboard to fulfil the packaging requirements have been coming available. Public recommendations are since September 2010 available from the ECMA website. It is strictly recommended to use low migration inks and appropriate adhesives for food cartons. It is important to outline that the usage of cartonboard is essential to the circular economy and should not be disqualified as undesirable.

  • The introduction of the ECMA GMP on food safety was a milestone for our industry. It is the clear answer from the European folding carton industry to the food safety challenges the whole food supply chain is confronted with. 

  • The appropriate selection of materials is covered in the ECMA GMP on food safety. There are solutions available to secure food safe cartons; provided of course that all available GMP best practices and guidelines are observed properly. This requires a serious assessment of the overall packaging concept for a given application. 

  • ECMA actively supports its members by sharing information and best practices and providing guidance to demonstrate compliance towards their customers. The aim is to deliver food safe cartons by sharing information and best practices, with appropriate risk assessments, by taking our responsibility, and most important by keeping real communication with all other stakeholders open. ECMA is dedicated to secure the highest level of food safe packaging solutions, and is open for debate and suggestions for further improvements. 

For further information and/or inquiries, please contact ECMA.