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No Objection Letter for Recycled Plastics #0032

Return to inventory: Submissions on Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) Plastics for Food-Contact Articles

See also Recycled Plastics in Food Packaging

May 11, 1995


Mr. George Misko
Keller and Heckman
1001 G Street, NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Mr. Misko:

This is in response to your letters of April 28, July 8, and November 8, 1994, regarding use by your client of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as the core layer in multi-layer food-contact articles.

You have provided us with detailed information regarding source control, sortation, and wash procedures employed by your client. You state that the post-consumer recycled PET would be derived solely from reclaimed food-contact articles, would be separated from the food by a XXXXX layer of virgin PET, and would be used for the following food-contact applications: 1) airline catering trays that will contact food for short periods of time under refrigerated and ambient temperatures, 2) containers for packaging poultry parts for storage under refrigerated temperatures for up to two weeks and frozen temperatures for periods less than three months, 3) salad trays intended to contact food at refrigerated temperatures only a few days, 4) containers for holding fresh fruits and vegetables for up to two weeks, 5) containers for dry cereals containing no free surface fat or oil, and 6) containers for instant and regular coffee and tea.

Based upon our review of the information you have provided and other data, we find that there will be little likelihood that substances from the recycled PET layer will migrate at significant levels from the packaging into food under your proposed conditions of use. Therefore, your client’s intended use of post-consumer recycled PET, as the non-food-contact layer in laminated bottles where the post-consumer recycled PET will be separated from food by a layer of virgin PET at least 1-mil thick, will not require an amendment to the food additive regulations. This finding is based on the requirement that the post-consumer PET is from reclaimed food-contact articles and the intended use is limited to those applications described above. The virgin PET must comply with all applicable regulations. Also, any sanitizers, processing aids and adjuvants used in the manufacture of the post-consumer recycled PET must meet the appropriate regulations for virgin PET.

Although we have concluded that your client’s intended use of recycled PET does not require an amendment to the food additive regulations, you should be aware that we are currently developing a formal policy on the use of post-consumer recycled plastics in contact with food. Thus, the decisions set forth in this letter may need to be modified due to future deliberations on this matter.

If we can be of any further help, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely yours,


Corbin I. Miles, Ph.D.
Indirect Additives Branch
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

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