Thailand’s New Standard for Plastic Food Packaging enables the use of recycled material to promote the circular economy of the Kingdom.
Thailand Ministry of Public Health published “Notification of the Ministry of Public Health (No. 435) B.E. 2565 (2022) Issued under the Food Act, B.E. 2522 (1979) on Determination of Quality or Standard of Plastic Containers” in the Royal Gazette on 17 June 2022.
The notification sets out a quality standard for plastic food containers. In addition, the notification lifted a ban on using recycled materials for food containers to promote the circular economy of the Kingdom. The notification has been effective since 18 June 2022 and the previous Notification (No. 295) B.E. 2548 (2005) on the Determination of Quality or Standards of Plastic Containers, dated 30 December 2005, was repealed.
Definition of recycled plastic food container
In the notification, “Container made from recycled plastic” is defined as a container made from recycled plastic which has a recycling process as follows:
- Primary recycling: pre-consumer scrap means the in-house processing of plastic parts or scrap which is left over from the food container manufacturing process to be recycled by parts. Such plastic or plastic scraps must have never been in contact with food before.
- Secondary recycling: physical reprocessing mechanical recycling means the physical processing of plastic food containers, including mechanical methods such as grinding, washing, and chemically treating the plastic and then melting it into plastic pellets to be used as containers. However, these processes must not alter the structure of the polymer.
- Tertiary recycling: chemical reprocessing means the processing of plastic containers that have been used to contain food back to their original form by using chemical processes.
Requirements for plastic food container
Plastic containers must have the following qualities or standards:
- No pathogenic microorganisms
- No hazardous substances affect health, except for substances of the type and quantity specified in the quality or standards requirements under Appendix 1 of this Notification. Annex 1 sets migration limits for 19 heavy metals and primary aromatic amines (PAAs) for different types of plastics.
- When containing the food, the substance must not be migrated into the food to the extent that it causes an unacceptable change in the nature of the food or its composition or cause the food to deteriorate its sensory characteristics.
- If the container is colored, the color must be food contact grade and must not contaminate food.
- In the case of printing or texting on the container, the ink must be firmly attached or not peeled off onto the food.
Containers made from secondary recycled plastics must also have the qualities or standards as follows:
- Containers made of recycled plastics with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) food contact grade raw material.
- Containers made of recycled plastic pellets that have undergone a process that can effectively remove contaminants must submit a safety assessment report from the Safety Assessment Unit as announced by the Food and Drug Administration or be made of recycled plastic pellets that are certified according to industrial product standards.