Project by ANDID – Italian National Association of Dietitians with the support of the Department of Public Health of the University of Florence

Food contact!

Every kitchen – whether domestic or professional – has its utensils, pots and pans for creating delicious recipes.

Thanks to technological innovation and exceptional know-how acquired over the years, the leading companies in the cookware sector have always been able to adapt their ranges with increasingly up-to-date and advanced solutions that successfully combine ease of use with functionality, flexibility, design and safety.

The variety of materials, shapes and sizes currently available means we can easily find the utensils we need for a particular style or method of cooking.

Through a careful combination of cooking tools and methods, we can expertly “amalgamate” knowledge and flavours to produce delicious, safe and healthy food for adults and children alike.

As the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Union are at pains to underline, the health of the population and food safety is a joint responsibility. In other words, they are dependent on synergic actions and strategies by the various stakeholders involved in the same process.

However, we are well aware that Italian consumers are attentive observers – as highlighted in many surveys by Eurobarometer, the European Commission public opinion analysis service – and are interested in but also worried by the various alarms (and denials) that have periodically surfaced in the media in recent years with regard to the safety of cookware.

In this regard, it is important to remember how the European Union, with the scientific consultancy of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) – an independent body that works closely with established and accredited research and scientific institutions in the Member States – works to protect the health of European consumers and food safety thanks to some of the most in-depth and stringent legislation in the world concerning materials or articles that come into contact with foodstuffs.

In fact, the regulation concerning materials and articles which come into contact with foodstuffs, which has a broader scope than the food safety law, is made up of over 350 continuously evolving laws, which over the years have culminated in the most recent Reg. (EC) no. 10/2011 of the Commission of 14/1/2011 (plastic) and MD 21/12/2010, no. 258 (stainless steel).

The underlying principle of all of these measures clearly states how materials or articles (e.g. kitchen utensils, cutlery, cookware, containers, and plastic, rubber, paper or metal packaging) that come into direct or indirect contact with foodstuffs must be manufactured in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and, in normal or predictable conditions of use, must be sufficiently inert to exclude the transfer of substances to food products in quantities that could endanger human health, modify the composition of food products to an unacceptable degree, or provoke the deterioration of the foodstuff.

The possibility of carrying out reliable laboratory tests in specific conditions (time, temperature, appropriate simulant etc.) also enables manufacturers and supervisory bodies to carefully evaluate the possibility of substances being transferred from the utensil to the foodstuff and the possible nature of the contamination and, where possible, the results of the transfer of the substance directly on the food.

We are therefore delighted to present this guide which, in a straightforward and concise manner and with an emphasis on practical information, describes the characteristics and specific qualities of the materials used to manufacture cookware, the hope being that – as also specified in the ANDID Code of Ethics – “quality” information not only contributes to improving individual knowledge but can also be helpful in making healthy individual and collective choices.

By the ANDID Management Committee

Guide to the choice of materials for the cooking of food

All the materials mentioned in this guide are regulated by the following laws, directives and guidelines that can be downloaded from the following links of the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and the COE (Council of Europe): downloadable at the following link:

EFSA COE Download the pdf guide