All products that come into contact with food must meet specific hygiene and safety standards to protect the health of consumers and reduce the risk of possible contamination and various other risks. To safeguard the industrial supply chain, there is the MOCA certification, governed by national and European regulations.
This certification ensures compliance with mandatory food hygiene legal requirements and relates to all parties who interact with the food supply chain in any way. We will look at what the MOCA certification is, how to get it and who is obliged to, as well as the penalties for any irregularities.
What is the MOCA certification?
MOCA is an acronym that stands for Materials and Objects in Contact with Food, i.e. all the products, machines and tools that can come into contact with food along the supply chain, from production processes to final consumption.
All the following are considered Materials and Objects in Contact with Food:
- Food production and processing machines;
- Food packaging machines and equipment;
- Primary food product packaging;
- Containers used to transport foods;
- Utensils, receptacles, tableware and cutlery.
All these materials can present a potential risk of food contamination, which is why there are dedicated legal regulations to protect the health of consumers. The regulation relating to MOCA is EC 1935/2004, which lays out a series of requirements that those objects must meet.
In particular, MOCA must be inert enough that they do not endanger human health, do not modify the composition of foods and do not damage the food’s organoleptic properties. Regulation EC 2023/2006, on the other hand, establishes the manufacturing criteria for MOCA, but there are also many Italian regulations covering this.
Declaration or certification?
The European regulation requires that companies issue a declaration of conformity for MOCA after assessing all the materials used to make the object in question. These materials must also be traceable, so a special label is required for MOCA, containing all the necessary information.
The MOCA declaration ensures the product’s quality and its compliance with the law at all stages of the process, from obtaining the raw materials to producing the finished product, including packaging, labeling and storage processes. This guarantees that the product will not be altered in any way along the supply chain.
It is important to clarify that the MOCA certification is not mandatory by law, it is voluntary for companies as there is currently no internationally recognized standard. However, the declaration of conformity is mandatory for MOCA, as required by the relevant European regulations.
The MOCA declaration basically involves operators in the sector taking responsibility and declaring that the products they sell comply with the law and meet all food safety requirements. Each individual in the supply chain must issue their own MOCA declaration relating to the stage of the product handling process they are involved in.
Who has to issue a MOCA declaration?
All operators in the food supply chain must complete a MOCA declaration, each taking responsibility for their own part in the process that involves the product.
This obligation applies to:
- Manufacturers of substances used to produce MOCA;
- Manufacturers of intermediate materials or semi-finished products processed into finished products;
- Manufacturers of finished products, like MOCA processors or assemblers;
- Importers that import substances, intermediate materials or finished products into the EU market from countries outside the EU.
The MOCA declaration of conformity must be issued by various parties, including companies involved in food packaging. Meanwhile, end users must get the MOCA declaration from their suppliers (e.g. catering companies) and keep it in case checks are carried out.
MOCA declaration: sanctions
Italian Legislative Decree 29/2017 established sanctions in the event of the absence of a MOCA declaration or irregularities in information, communication, labeling and traceability. Non-conformity or the absence of the declaration can lead to a fine of 80,000 euro.
How to get the MOCA certification
Now we’ll look at how to get the MOCA certification. First of all, it is important to point out that the MOCA declaration of conformity is the responsibility of the processor or distributor of Materials and Objects in Contact with Food, who must comply with the provisions of European regulations 1935/2004 and 2023/2006, and the corresponding Italian legislation.
Who issues the MOCA certification? For Materials and Objects in Contact with Food, the voluntary certification is issued by specialist organizations but it is not a document that can replace the MOCA declaration in any way. The non-mandatory certification is only an addition to the declaration of conformity, to add extra quality and safety guarantees for the materials used in the MOCA sold.
Volmar offers high-quality food packaging products that have a MOCA declaration of conformity guaranteeing that the use of raw materials complies with the provisions of MOCA safety regulations.
We ensure the highest standards of quality of our food packaging, offering companies in the food industry innovative, safe and competitive food packaging solutions.