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Exporting food or beverages to the USA, EU or the East? How to ensure your packaging is FDA and EU complaint.

If you are exporting food or beverages in bottles, drums or tanks, you will most probably be well aware of the standards and regulations required for clean conditions and materials for these containers. Claiming that your product is ‘food grade’ simply does not cut it anymore. But what about the seals, gaskets or wads used in the lids?

Here’s a summary of what you may be confronted with in regards to Wads, Cap Seals and Drum Lid Seals.

Exporting to the USA?

Here it’s all about the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s requirements and often further Industry or State regulations. You should start by looking here:

A. The materials must contain FDA Section 21 Materials (you will need proof that your materials are made from Section 21 ingredients).
B. Your facility may be subject to 3rd Party FDA audit. There’s no sense having compliant material only to have it getting dirty in transit or in stores.

Here’s a link to the US FDA website so you can see which South African Suppliers are listed.

Exporting to the EU?

The main norms to comply with are:

A. EU 10/2011 – Plastics Intended to come into Contact with Food
B. EU 1935/2004 – Food Contact Materials
C. REACH and REACH SVHC – Prohibited Substances and concentrations found in materials

Again you may be asked to supply 3rd Party certification of manufacturing in clean conditions.

Exporting to the East?

EU or US FDA norm compliance is good but there may be more. One issue currently in play is TNPP. Although there is debate about this stabiliser or anti-oxidant and if it can affect human health the bottom line is that you will have to prove that your material/s don’t contain this if you wish to export to the east.

And Africa?

Whilst exporting to overseas territories requires evidence to ensure that the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals is reduced the situation in South Africa (and by association, Africa) appears to be lagging. Some end users claim that EU and/or US FDA regulations are required but this is often merely lip service. It appears, in many case, that claiming that something is “food grade” is sufficient and one is reminded of the story about the Emperor’s Clothes. One has to wonder about this and the inference which, of course, is that African consumers can cope with toxins.

Gasket and Shim Industries has been in the business of supplying seals, gaskets and wads to the food and beverage industry for 20 years. We stock a range of FDA and EU compliant materials and we are proudly listed, together with (only) a handful of other South Africa companies on FDA’s 3rd Party Audit website.