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Get ready for 2024! The Netherlands’ food and beverage industry is gearing up for significant updates in 2024 Dutch Food Safety and packaging laws. From stringent MOAH limits to a total ban on single-use plastics, these changes affect everyone in the industry. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Below, we’ve broken down all the 2024 changes to the Dutch food regulation to help you kick off the year smoothly and stay ahead of the game.

Understanding the 2024 Dutch Food Safety and Packaging Laws: What Changes?

2024 Dutch Food Safety | Plastic ban

Regulation on MOAH in Food

A new regulation will take effect on January 1, 2024, addressing Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons (MOAH) in food. The Dutch Food Safety Authority (NVWA) has defined action limits for MOAH in various food types. These include dry foods with low fat/oil content and foods with higher fat/oil content. For instance, the action limit for dry foods with low fat/oil content is set at 0.5 mg/kg for MOAH. Products exceeding a MOAH value of 1 mg/kg, such as baby food, must be withdrawn from the market. For foods with a fat content over 50%, a product recall may not be mandatory. However, the authority can make individual decisions in exceptional cases.

Ban on Single-Use Plastics and Disposable Cups

Starting January 1, 2024, disposable cups and containers with plastic will be banned for on-site consumption. This policy impacts catering establishments, events, offices, and sports clubs. Starting July 1, 2023, customers at takeaway and delivery services, along with supermarkets, will have to pay for disposable plastic cups and containers. From July 3, 2024, new rules mandate that caps must stay attached to bottles or containers during use.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

Since January 1, 2023, EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) has been applied to various plastic products. Producers now contribute to waste collection and litter clearance. The range of products under EPR is set to expand in the coming years. EPR covers products such as tobacco products with filters, single-serve food packaging, disposable cups, and beverage packaging.

Recycling and Waste Reduction Targets

The Dutch government has established recycling or reuse targets for packaging materials. By 2024, the minimum percentages for recycling or reuse are: 47% for plastics, 55% for wooden packaging, and 86% for glass, among others. Producers or importers must ensure that these percentages of their total annual packaging are recycled or reused.

Use of Recycled Materials in Food Packaging

While no specific rules exist for using recycled materials in food packaging, the Commodities Act Decree mandates quality materials for public health. The regulation on packaging and consumer products supports this requirement. The European Food Safety Authority recommends that at least 95% of recycled materials should be used for new food packaging.

Businesses Impacted by the 2024 Dutch Food Safety & Packaging Laws

The 2024 changes to safety and packaging laws coming into effect in the Netherlands will impact various types of businesses in the food and beverage industry differently. Here’s a breakdown.

2024 Dutch Food Safety | Dutch food producer

Regulation on MOAH for Food Safety

  • Food producers and manufacturers are directly impacted by the new regulation. This especially applies to companies producing baby food, baby follow-on food, medical food for babies and infants, or any food with significant fat content. These businesses must regularly test their products for MOAH. They need to ensure compliance with the set limits to avoid potential product recalls.

Ban on Single-Use Plastics and Disposable Cups

  • Food Producers/Manufacturers: Less directly affected, but may need to consider packaging if they provide products in disposable containers.
  • HORECA (Hotels, Restaurants, Cafés): Directly affected. They must switch to sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic cups and containers for on-site consumption.
  • Retailers: Must adjust to selling alternatives to single-use plastics. May have to implement charging for disposable cups and containers containing plastic.
  • Distributors and Wholesalers: Will need to adapt their product offerings to comply with the ban. Additionally they should potentially offer more sustainable packaging solutions to their clients.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

  • Food Producers/Manufacturers: Directly impacted as they need to contribute to the collection of waste and clearing up of litter for products like beverage packaging and single-serve food packaging.
  • HORECA: May need to adapt if they produce waste from items like disposable cups and single-serve packaging.
  • Retailers, Distributors, and Wholesalers: These businesses should be aware of the products that fall under EPR and adjust their practices accordingly.

Recycling and Waste Reduction Targets

  • Food Producers/Manufacturers: Need to ensure that their packaging meets the recycling targets and consider using materials that are easier to recycle.
  • Retailers: Should be aware of the packaging materials they are selling and may need to participate in recycling initiatives.
  • Distributors and Wholesalers: Like retailers, these businesses should focus on the recyclability of the packaging materials they distribute.

Use of Recycled Materials in Food Packaging

  • Food Producers/Manufacturers: Most directly affected as they need to ensure that recycled materials used in their packaging are safe for food contact.
  • HORECA: May be indirectly affected if they use packaged food products in their services.
  • Retailers: Should ensure that packaged food products they sell comply with safety standards regarding recycled materials.

Each type of business should assess how these regulations directly impact their operations and take appropriate measures to comply. It’s also advisable for businesses to consult with legal or regulatory experts for detailed guidance tailored to their specific operations and products.

What Measures Can Food Businesses Take?

To adapt to the new regulations coming into effect in 2024 for food and beverage businesses in the Netherlands, here are some suggested measures for each of the key changes.

Regulation on MOAH in Food

  • Regular Testing: Conduct regular testing of your products for MOAH, especially if your products fall into categories like baby food or have higher fat content.
  • Supplier Verification: Ensure your suppliers are aware of and comply with these new standards, especially if you’re sourcing ingredients that could affect your product’s MOAH levels.
  • Product Reformulation: Consider reformulating products that might be at risk of exceeding MOAH limits.
  • Contingency Planning: Develop a plan for a potential product recall if your products exceed the MOAH limits.

Ban on Single-Use Plastics and Disposable Cups

  • Switch to Sustainable Alternatives: Replace single-use plastic cups and containers with sustainable alternatives, like biodegradable or compostable materials.
  • Promote Reusable Containers: Encourage customers to bring their own containers or offer reusable containers for a deposit.
  • Customer Awareness: Inform your customers about the new regulations and any changes you are implementing, such as charges for disposable cups and containers.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

  • Waste Management: Develop or enhance your waste collection and recycling processes for the applicable products.
  • Product Design: Consider the end-of-life of your products during the design phase to ease recycling and waste management.
  • Compliance Reporting: Prepare for compliance reporting requirements, including documenting how you are contributing to waste collection and litter clearing.

Recycling and Waste Reduction Targets

  • Recycling Partnerships: Partner with recycling firms to ensure that the required percentage of your packaging is being recycled.
  • Packaging Optimization: Optimize your packaging to use less material or switch to materials that have higher recycling rates.
  • Track and Report: Keep detailed records of your packaging use and recycling efforts to ensure compliance with the set targets.

Use of Recycled Materials in Food Packaging

  • Compliance with Health Standards: Ensure that the recycled materials used in your packaging comply with health and safety standards, particularly for food contact.
  • Supplier Standards: Work with suppliers who can provide high-quality recycled materials that are safe for food contact.
  • Product Labelling: Clearly label your packaging to inform consumers of the use of recycled materials and any related health and safety information.

For each of these measures, it’s crucial to stay informed about the specific requirements of the new regulations and to seek guidance from legal or industry experts where necessary. Additionally, consider the potential impact on your business operations and finances, and plan accordingly to ensure a smooth transition to compliance with the new regulations.

A Digital Solution to the 2024 Dutch Food Safety & Packaging Laws

B2B ecommerce can play a significant role in helping food businesses adapt to the regulatory changes coming into effect in the Netherlands in 2024. Here are several ways in which B2B commerce can assist:

Sourcing Compliant Materials and Products

B2B marketplaces can connect food businesses with suppliers offering sustainable and compliant packaging materials. This is particularly relevant for adapting to the ban on single-use plastics and the use of recycled materials in food packaging.

Technology and Compliance Solutions

B2B technology providers offer solutions that can help businesses track and manage their compliance with regulations like recycling targets and MOAH standards. This includes software for supply chain management, compliance reporting, and quality control.

Collaboration and Information Sharing

B2B networks facilitate collaboration and information exchange between businesses. This can be invaluable for staying informed about best practices, innovative solutions, and changes to regulatory requirements.

Waste Management and Recycling Services

B2B commerce can connect food businesses with waste management and recycling service providers. This is crucial for meeting extended producer responsibility obligations and waste reduction targets.

Educational Resources and Consultancy

B2B platforms often provide educational resources, webinars, and consultancy services to help businesses understand and adapt to new regulations.

Product Innovation and Development

B2B collaborations can spur innovation, developing new, compliant products and packaging solutions. This is particularly relevant for creating alternatives to banned materials.

Networking and Partnerships

B2B commerce facilitates networking, allowing food businesses to form partnerships with other companies to collectively address regulatory challenges.

Market Expansion and Diversification

By connecting with a broader network of suppliers and customers, food businesses can diversify their markets and product offerings, potentially offsetting the costs and challenges of regulatory compliance.

By leveraging B2B commerce, food businesses can more effectively navigate the complexities of regulatory changes, access necessary resources, and collaborate with partners to ensure compliance and maintain competitiveness.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the 2024 Dutch Food Safety and packaging law updates represent a pivotal shift towards sustainability and quality assurance in the food industry. By staying informed and prepared, businesses can navigate these changes effectively.

Official Links

  1. MOAH in Food: Regulations and Key Information
  2. Disposable Plastic Regulations: An Overview for Entrepreneurs
  3. Producer Responsibility for Waste: Guidelines for Businesses
  4. From Waste to Resources: Informative Insights on Waste Management
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