MOCA – Materials and Articles in Contact with Food

Materials and objects in contact with foods" (MOCA/FCM) are materials and objects destined to come into contact with foods (kitchen tools and table flatware and containers, machinery for the transformation of foods, packaging materials, etc.). These terms are also used to indicate the materials and objects that come into contact with water, with the exclusion of fixed public or private water supply systems

Legislative framework

The obligation of the MOCA declaration was established by the Italian Ministerial Decree n. 6 dated 21 March 1973Disciplina igienica degli imballaggi, recipienti, utensili, destinati a venire in contatto con le sostanze alimentari o con sostanze d’uso personale”, or “Hygiene regulations for packaging, containers, tools destined to come into contact with food stuffs or substances for personal hygiene”.

Always in Italy, the Lgs. Decree 29/2017 governs the sanctions for the violations of provisions imposed by the regulations concerning materials and objects destined to come into contact with food products and foods. All companies to which the MOCA/FCM legislation applies must be registered with the SUAP (Sportello Unico Attività Produttive, or Unified Office for Production Activities) of their relative City and conform with European regulations.

  • 1935/2004/ECconcerning the materials and objects destined to come into contact with food products.
  • 2023/2006/ECconcerning the good manufacturing practises for materials and objects destined to come into contact with food products.
  • 282/2008/ECrelative to recycled plastic materials and objects destined to come into contact with foods.
  • 450/2009/ECconcerning the active and intelligent materials destined to come into contact with foods.
  • 10/2011/ECconcerning plastic materials and objects destined to come into contact with food products.
  • 1895/2005/ECrelative to the restrictions regarding the use of some epoxies in materials and objects destined to come into contact with food products.

Potential sources of contamination

Many objects and materials come into contact with people and foods on a daily basis, like:

  • kitchen tools and table flatware
  • vessels and containers;
  • packaging materials;
  • machinery for the transformation of foods.

Each of these materials may constitute a source of contamination, due to the micro-organisms present on their surface or undesired substances released onto the food during contact.

Who is subject to the issuing of the MOCA Declaration?

Those subject to the issuing of the Conformity Declaration are:

  • producers of substances destined to be used as materials and packaging that come into contact with food substances;
  • producers of intermediate and/or semi-processed materials (ex. granules, preformed, with reference to plastic materials) and destined to later be transformed into finished products;
  • producers of finished products (bottles, tubs, etc.) that can also be defined as “transformers” (that carry out, for example, pressing, moulding, coupling of plastic films) or “assemblers” (for the production of machinery, equipment, or appliances);
  • end users (food industry, retailers, food sellers like caterers, restaurants, etc.).
  • importers who market substances, intermediate or finished products from extra-EU nations in the EU.

Who is obliged to draft the MOCA Declaration (for the conformity of materials and packaging destined to come into contact with food substances)?

The responsibility of preparing the conformity declaration is the so-called “Economic operator” defined by Regulation 1935/2004/EC as “the person or entity responsible for guaranteeing compliance with the provisions of the regulations themselves in the business in question”.

In any case there is not just one Declaration for the various subjects involved in the materials and packaging destined to come into contact with food substances production supply chain, in that there is an actual “chain” of Declarations.

Beginning with the initial producer of raw materials to the final distributor, each issues their own conformity declaration to the economic subject downstream and holds the one received from the economic subject upstream. Even simple retailers who enter the supply chain must receive the Declaration and issue one to their own client.

Traceability

Traceability is an important concept, defined as “the possibility to reconstruct and follow the path of materials and objects through all their manufacturing, transformation, and distribution phases” (Regulation 1935/2004/EC Art.2).

The Regulation, at Article 17, claims that the traceability of the materials and objects must be guaranteed during all the phases in order to facilitate the control, the recall of defective products, the information provided to the consumers and the attribution of liability.

Economic operators must therefore be equipped with procedure and management systems that enable them to identify the companies materials and objects were supplied from and to and, if necessary, the substances and products used in their processing. This information is made available to the competent authorities if they should request them (locally competent Health Protection Agencies).

The possibility to reconstruct and follow the path of materials or objects through all the phases of processing, transformation, and distribution (Reg. 1935/2004/EC Art.2)

ADMINISTRATIVE SANCTIONS

Before the Decree 29/2017, the food product and packaging sector (MOCA/FCM) was subject to disciplinary sanctions that made reference only to national legislation. Now, instead, specific sanctions for the obligations established by community regulations are being introduced. These sanctions range from a minimum of €1,500 up to a value of €60,000 or €80.000 (sale of substances that are hazardous for human health).

The MOCA/FCM services offered by ECO

ECO Certificazioni boasts a team of qualified assessors and three-decades of experience in the Certifications to meet the specific needs of Organisations.

  • Training in the MOCA/FCM sector
  • Conformity Assessment in the field of MOCA/FCM based on the above-mentioned Regulations (specific for packaging producers and objects that come into contact with and for machinery producers).
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