Article originally published in the Food Packaging Bulletin, January 2010

As with virtually all goods manufactured in, or imported into, the European Economic AreaI, food packaging is subject to the stringent requirements of Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (the so-called “REACH Regulation”)II. Indeed, while substances “used in food” are excluded from most of the REACH requirements, this is not the case for substances used in the manufacture of food packaging or from which food packaging is made.

The REACH Regulation applies to substances on their own and in mixtures, as well as to substances in so-called “articles”. Articles are objects, such as packaging, that during production are given a special shape, surface or design that determines their function to a greater degree than their chemical composition.

REACH is characterized by the following features: First, for virtually all substances, REACH imposes the principle of “no data, no market” and requires producers to learn about and disclose the substances that are contained in their products and their properties.

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