European Directive 2002/72/EC sets the specific migration limit (SML) for formaldehyde and hexamethylenetetramine at 15 mg/kg (total migration value for both substances) in plastic food-contact materials.
Melamine and polyamide kitchen utensils from China and Hong Kong may contain too high a level of formaldehyde and primary aromatic amines in relation to the limits set in the legislation. Indeed, during checks on manufacturers in China and Hong Kong, the European Commission's Food and Veterinary Office detected serious deficiencies in the compliance of such items with the European regulations.
This is why a new regulation (Regulation (EU) No 284/2011), adopted on 22 March 2011 and entering into force in July 2011, urged importers to be more vigilant and reminded them of the fact that the SML for formaldehyde and primary aromatic amines is 15 mg/kg.
This regulation requires importers to report the arrival of any melamine and polyamide kitchen utensils from Hong Kong and China so that inspections can be better organised. Importers must be able to prove that the items comply with the regulations by providing test results. These inspections are subject to a specific procedure.