Traceability of packaging

Plastic and flexible packaging producers pay a special attention to the traceability of their products, which must be ensured at all stages in order to facilitate control, the recall of defective products, consumer information, and the identification of responsibility.

Each business operators undertakes to transmit all relevant information to its customers.

An European working group made up of representatives from each material sector provided guidelines to the industry on how to implement traceability in order to fulfil the requirements set down in Article 17 of Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004. Since then, some sectors incorporated these elements into their own guidelines.

Regarding plastic materials and articles, the European Commission adopted in November 2013 a Guidance document on information in the supply chain.


  • identification of the type of material in a triangle is not mandatory but if used, numbers and abbreviations should be respected as followed (PET: 1 – HDPE: 2 – PVC: 3 – LDPE: 4 (LDPE) – PP: 5 – PS: 6 – Other: 7)
  • neither the “glass / fork” symbol nor the alternative “food contact” / “suitable for food” claims are mandatory if articles are obviously intended to come into contact with foodstuffs (e.g.: plates, bowls, glasses, dishes, salad bowls, pans, etc.).