EUROSAC launches new food contact guideline for paper packaging

23 June 2020

EUROSAC launches new food contact guideline for paper packaging

When producing paper sacks for food, European manufacturers face many legal requirements regarding the protection and hygiene of the stored food. To support manufacturers in meeting all regulations and providing the necessary information for food contact compliance to the food producer, the European Paper Sack Research Group (ESG), a collaboration between EUROSAC and CEPI Eurokraft, have launched an update of their food contact guideline. It summarises the relevant regulations at both EU and national levels and gives an overview of the procedures required to collect, evaluate and document all necessary information. Furthermore, it states under which conditions migration testing and the issuing of compliance documents is required.

Paper sacks for food products can be constructed in different ways and with different materials. While some paper sacks are made entirely of paper, other sacks have layers of plastic or aluminium added as a barrier towards moisture, oxygen or fat. Glue and/or ink are also part of the final construction. All these materials as well as the type of food that will be packed in the sack – whether it is fatty on the surface, contains fat, is dry or is moist – need to be taken into account to fulfil food contact requirements. The same is true for the conditions of use, the storage time and the temperature. Information on these aspects from all suppliers is a prerequisite.

“Food safety is of the utmost importance to our industry. With our updated guideline, we want to clarify the responsibilities for meeting food contact requirements linked to materials, paper sacks and food during the lifetime of the sack in relation to the existing legal regulations,” explains Catherine Plitzko-Kerninon, General Delegate of EUROSAC. “The guideline gives an overview of the most important regulations and explains how, and under which circumstances, they have to be fulfilled and which steps are necessary to take.”

To facilitate the process of ensuring compliance with the legislation for European paper sack manufacturers, the document contains a recommended procedure to ensure food contact compliance, called “ESG/Key Seven Steps”. There are different approaches depending on the composition of the sack. All of them start with collecting information on the intended use for the paper sack and compliance statements as well as other required documents from the suppliers. In addition to this, the information on substances of concern should be summarised, which then concludes if tests on the migration of these substances are required. The final step, after any required testing, is to write a document of compliance.

Furthermore, the comprehensive annex includes in-depth information on specific matters such as recycled materials for food contact, testing conditions and an overview of the existence of national legislation and recommendations in different countries as well as links to the respective website information.

The new guideline can be seen here:

The objectives of the European Paper Sack Research Group (ESG) are to:

  • Establish a scientific knowledge base and to present facts to support lobbying business in Eurosac and CEPI Eurokraft
  • Provide models and tools that support individual member companies in their development of the paper sack system
  • Help and support members to comply with new directives and laws in the paper sack area.

The main purpose of the ESG Food Contact Guideline is to propose a structured way to handle food contact legislation as a support to the paper sack manufacturer. It should be emphasised though that food contact legislation is very complex and should be handled by a knowledgeable person in the company. The scope of the guideline is limited to legislations and recommendations covering the safety of food contact materials and articles. Legislation dealing with environmental matters, such as the REACH regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) are not within the scope of this guideline. Furthermore, the guideline covers legislations and recommendations in place on the European market. The ESG Food Contact Guideline has the objective to make the sack producer understand his responsibilities in relation to different regulations. The guideline shows how and when these different regulations are needed to be met depending on the composition of the paper sack, type of food product, temperatures and time during storage, input materials, etc. It clarifies who is responsible for what and when in the “lifetime” of a paper sack, from production of input materials to emptying of the food product contained within the paper sack. The guideline also transfers some learnings about existing regulations and directives and shows where these can be found in their full extent. The revised CEPI/CITPA Food Contact Guideline was published on April 9th, 2019. In some cases, this guideline and the ESG Guideline are overlapping but should be seen as complimentary documents. 3 The ESG Food Contact Guideline has been prepared on the initiative of Eurosac and CEPI Eurokraft within the frame of the ESG – European Paper Sack Research Group.


The Guideline has been prepared by Susanna Andersson, RISE. To support the work there has been a Reference Committee with members: Brian Ameys, Mondi Maibritt Jensen, Segezha Packaging Kennert Johansson, CEPI Eurokraft Michael Merschmann, dy-pack Verpackungen Gustav Dyckerhoff Will Pedersen, Nordic Paper Mikael Peterson, BillerudKorsnäs Catherine Plitzko-Kerninon, Eurosac Petra Resch, Starkraft Silvia Sebastianelli, Fiorini Packaging Michael Sturges, RISE Francesco Toson, Sacchettificio Nazionale G. Corazza ESG Food Contact Guideline, 3rd edition, Eurosac, Paris and CEPI Eurokraft, Stockholm, May 2020. 

Copies can be downloaded here 

Privacy Policy
We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.