• Plastic Kitchen Products Regulations in the United States: An Overview

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    Plastic Kitchen Products Regulations in United States

    Planning to sell plastic kitchen products on Amazon.com? In this guide, we cover food contact materials regulations, ASTM standards, labeling rules, and other requirements when importing and selling plastic kitchen products in the United States.

    Mentioned Products

    • Nylon kitchen utensils
    • Silicone cooking utensils
    • Microwave plastic food container
    • PTFE non-stick Kitchen Products
    • Plastic lunch boxes
    • Plastic cultery

    21 CFR (FDA)

    Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is reserved for rules of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA is responsible for the control and supervision of food safety, which also applies to plastic kitchen products. For example, there is a limitation on the percentage of restricted substances that are allowed in plastic food contact materials (FCM).

    Restricted substances

    21 CFR sets limits to certain substances that apply to plastic kitchen products such as the nylon kitchen utensils. For example, nylon kitchen utensils must not contain excessive amounts of substance otherwise it’s illegal to sell in the United States. Here are some examples of the restrictions:

    1. Propylene glycol dibenzoate for use as a plasticizer at levels not to exceed 20 percent by weight of the finished adhesive.

    2. Sodium fluoride for use only as a bonding agent for aluminum foil, stabilizer, or preservative. Total fluoride for all sources not to exceed 1 percent by weight of the finished adhesive.

    3. Resinous and Polymeric Coatings, epoxy resins derived from BPA and epichlorohydrin are banned for FCMs.

    Note: If you would like to use a food contact substance that is not regulated yet by the FDA in your plastic kitchen products, you may submit a notification to FDA and apply for pre-market approval.

    FCM lab testing

    Third-party lab testing is the only possible way to verify your plastic kitchen products in compliance with the regulation. Leading testing companies such as SGS, Intertek, and Bureau Veritas offer third-party testing that covers all substances restricted by 21 CFR.

    Testing costs

    FCM lab testing costs range from $200 to $500. The cost mostly depends on the materials and colors, therefore we suggest that you should request a free quotation based on your product type.

    Risks

    Some plastic kitchen products, such as cutlery and lunch boxes, may contain excessive amounts of Bisphenol A and other restricted substances. It’s therefore essential to submit your products for lab testing before you import and sell the products in the United States. Further, you should rely on existing supplier test reports.

    Bisphenol A (BPA) Regulations

    Since researches found out that BPA could bring potential health issues to customers, the substance has been regulated by the US federal and many state governments.

    Your plastic cookware might contain a certain level of BPA. Therefore it’s important to understand the state requirements on BPA before importation. Here is a non-comprehensive overview of the BPA requirements in different States:

    • California – BPA ≤ 0.1 ppb
    • City of Chicago (Illinois) – BPA prohibited
    • Maine – BPA prohibited
    • Minnesota – BPA prohibited
    • New York State – BPA prohibited
    • Wisconsin – BPA prohibited ( Label required if BPA-free)

    Click here to check more states’ requirements on BPA.

    Note: Third-party lab testing is the only way to verify if your plastic kitchen products comply with the BPA requirements.

    California Proposition 65

    California Proposition 65 (CA Prop 65) sets limits to over 800 hazardous substances for all consumer products sold in California. With that said, if you are planning to sell plastic kitchen products, such as silicone cooking utensils in California, you must comply with the CA Prop 65.

    Examples of restricted substances

    • Lead
    • Cadmium
    • Bisphenol A (BPA)
    • Mercury
    • Phthalates

    California Proposition 65 Lab testing

    We understand it could be difficult for importers to verify whether their plastic kitchen products is compliant with CA Prop 65. Additionally, not many manufacturers in Asia can provide CA Prop 65 test reports; therefore, we recommend that you shall book third-party lab testing for your plastic kitchen products.

    Testing costs

    The CA Prop 65 lab testing cost around $200 to $300 for plastic kitchen products. The cost can be higher or lower depending on the number of materials to be tested.

    Testing companies

    CA prop 65 lab testing companies can also help with documentation or certification service, click here to learn more.

    Warning Labeling

    CA Prop 65 requires a warning label for products that contain restricted substances under the candidate list. The only way to avoid the warning label is to get verified by testing companies.

    Risks

    As mentioned, some plastic kitchen products contain excessive amounts of restricted chemicals and heavy metals. There are a number of reasons for why this is the case:

    • Some products are made for countries with lower safety requirements than the United States
    • Many manufacturers in this industry don’t have access to material substance information

    Country of Origin

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that all products advertised or sold in the United States must bear the Country of Origin label.

    For plastic kitchen products, Importers must bear a clear and visibly Country of Origin label on the product and its packaging. Further, the label must be written in English.

    Examples

    • Made in China
    • Made in Thailand
    • Made in Mexico
    • Made in Vietnam

    Label file

    Importers shall prepare their own Country of Origin label and send it to their manufacturers. The label file should be in .ai or .eps format. Remember that manufacturers have no responsibility for creating the label of your plastic kitchen products.

    ASTM Standards

    In the United States, ASTM standards have been adopted by many state and federal regulations. ASTM standards are a good reference to develop your plastic kitchen products in terms of product safety.

    ASTM standards are generally not mandatory for plastic kitchen products. However, ASTM provides detailed testing methods for FCMs and standards procedures for plastic kitchen products’ production. This information can be used for product safety and quality improvement.

    Note: Importing unsafe products may result in force recall and heavy fines. Importers should always ensure product safety even there is no applicable regulations and standards for your product.

    Examples of kitchen products ASTM standards

    • ASTM F2643 – Standard Specification for powered pot, pan, and utensil washing sinks
    • ASTM D4066 – Standard classification system for nylon injection and extrusion materials (PA)
    • ASTM D5630 – Standard test method for Ash content in plastics

    Find more applicable ASTM plastic kitchen product standards on ASTM’s official website.

    ASTM testing

    Some testing companies such as Intertek and SGS, they provide ASTM testing for plastics and polymers. They can help with product development by conducting relevant ASTM standards testing for your plastic kitchen products.

    Note that most plastic kitchen products manufacturers cannot provide any ASTM test reports.

    Product Packaging

    Packaging regulations apply to all consumer products sold in the United States including plastic kitchen products. Therefore, when importing plastic kitchen products, importers shall also ensure packaging compliance.

    Heavy Metals Restrictions

    Over nineteen states in America have metal substances limitation for packaging. Excessive presence of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury are prohibited in product packaging. These heavy metals can be found in dyes, inks, and adhesives that used in packaging.

    Most manufacturers cannot provide material details for packaging, therefore, importers can book third-party lab testing to verify whether the packages are compliant.

    Labeling Requirements

    Product labels such as country of origin or compliance mark shall also be included in the packaging. The label shall be visibly and permanently printed on the packaging.

    Amazon Compliance Requirements

    Amazon requires that all products, including plastic kitchen utensils, are compliant with mandatory product regulations and labeling requirements. Amazon is becoming increasingly strict when it comes to verifying that third-party sellers do ensure that their products are safe and fully compliant.

    There are also some instances in which Amazon has forced third-party sellers to ensure product compliance with voluntary standards. However, this is unlikely to be the case for plastic kitchen products.

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    Disclaimer: The content on this website is provided for general information only. The content includes summaries written by our team members based on publicly available information about product safety standards, labeling, documentation, testing, processes, and other product compliance related topics. However, we don’t guarantee that we cover every single relevant regulation/standard/requirement, or that the information is free from errors, or covering every single scenario and exemption. We do make mistakes from time to time. We never provide legal advice of any sort.

    Changes/Updates: Product standards and substance restrictions are subject to frequent updates and changes. In addition, new regulations, standards, and/or requirements may also become effective at any time. We don’t update our articles whenever new standards/regulations/rules are added or changed. We recommend that you consult a lab testing company or other professional to get the latest information about mandatory standards/regulations in your market, country, or state. Lab testing companies generally stay up to date on new and updated standards and regulations.

    National/State-Level Standards/Regulations: Many articles don't cover all European national and US state standards, regulations, and requirements. We recommend that you consult a testing company or other professional to confirm all relevant (and current) national/state level standards and regulations.
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