Ceramics and Glass

Pottery is one of the main materials to be used in contact with food. The main danger related to ceramic products, varnishes and enamels used for their decoration is the possible migration of lead and cadmium to food.

These metals are toxic and can be hazardous to health, in certain concentrations in foods: this is the reason why there are limits for both metals and compliance must be guaranteed by the manufacturer or, in the case of import from a third country, by the importer of the ceramic product through suitable monitoring activities.

The Directive on ceramic articles

The EU reference rule is Directive 84/500/CEE, which concerns the possible migration of lead and cadmium from ceramic articles which, in their finished state, are intended to come into contact with foodstuffs, or which are in contact with foodstuffs, and are intended for that purpose.

The quantities of lead and cadmium transferred from ceramic articles shall not exceed the limits stated in the directive.

From marketing to the retail stage, ceramic articles that are not yet in contact with foodstuffs shall be accompanied by a Declaration of Compliance and appropriate documentation to prove that they comply with the migration limits for lead and cadmium.


This material is not regulated at EU level, but each Member State has different legislations. In general, it is necessary to check compositional characteristics and perform migration testing, always considering the intended use of the final product.

Mechanical resistance

Mechanical resistance tests after dishwashing and heat resistance tests in the microwave are usually performed in these products.
The end consumer immediately perceives the physio-mechanical and rheological aspects of a product; they can result in consumers choosing one product over another, but resistance of food contact ceramic is of utmost importance for safety reasons.

The resistance of product is usually tested considering their normal or reasonably foreseeable intended use. These tests usually include compression, perforation, fracture, abrasion.

In addition, technological suitability tests are performed on this sort of products to confirm food contact materials properties, such as resistance to heat, oven or microwave heating or freezing.

Mérieux NutriSciences: a global service for ceramics and glass

Mérieux NutriSciences performs specific migration tests of cadmium and lead from pottery to ensure compliance with Directive no. 84/500/CEE and subsequent amendments and additions; moreover, mechanical resistance tests after dishwashing and heat resistance tests in the microwave are performed for these products and fro glass products.

Food Contact Materials: Migration Testing & Technological Suitability

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