Any items intended to come into contact with food (cooking utensils and tableware, containers, food processing machinery, packaging materials, etc.) are known as MOCA in Italian, or "materials and articles intended to come into contact with food". This term also refers to materials and objects that are in contact with water, excluding, of course, public or private fixed water supply systems.*
Many of the following objects and materials come into contact with people and food:
Each and any of these can constitute a source of contamination due to microorganisms present on their surface or unwanted substances transferred to the food during contact.
In recent years, Italian and EU laws and regulations have addressed these issues, thereby becoming a benchmark and obligatory point of reference when a manufacturer wants to put a product on the market that will likely come into contact with food in its normal use.
Such materials and articles in contact with food are governed by both national and European measures.
As far as the EU is concerned, European Framework Regulation (EC) n. 1935/2004 establishes the general requirements that the materials and objects in question must satisfy, while specific measures contain detailed provisions for each material (plastics, ceramics, etc.). Regulation 1935/2004 specifically states that all materials and objects must be produced in compliance with good manufacturing practices and, under normal, foreseeable use conditions, must not transfer anything to food products that would:
The other applicable European Regulation is 2023/2006/EC. In art. 5, it calls for the adoption of a quality management system and the classic good manufacturing practices (GMP).
As for Italy, Leg. Dec. 29/2017 on Disciplinary penalties regarding materials and articles intended to come into contact with food and food products has been in effect since 31 July 2017. It applies to all companies to which the MOCA legislation is applicable and requires that they register at the Consolidated Business Advisory Centre (SUAP in Italian) of the relevant Municipality and comply with the aforementioned regulations.
The point is to be included in a national list of companies operating in the sector. After registration, local health authorities (ASL in Italian) begin control activities at the companies.
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