Safety Standards Part Two: FCC and Food Grade Plastics

It’s always crucial to ensure that a product is safe, sometimes the nature of what you’re selling will require extra consideration and specific measures.
Of course it’s crucial, when you are an inventor or manufacturer, that you develop products with a conscience. That means ensuring that they are produced in an efficient and sustainable manner, that they are socially responsible, and most important of all, that they are safe.

To help entrepreneurs in this aim, the government and various other organisations have provided a range of safety standards and guidelines, laws and tests to make certain that there’s no way your new gadget can end up taking someone’s head off. While it’s always crucial to ensure that a product is safe, sometimes the nature of what you’re selling will require extra consideration and specific measures. In part one, we looked at CPSIA and products that are designed for children. Here we will look at FCC and Food Grade Plastics.


Safety Standards Part Two FCC and Food Grade Plastics

FCC stands for Federal Communications Commission and applies mostly to electronic products manufactured or sold in the US. FCC certification demonstrates that a product has minimised its electromagnetic interference as approved by the organisation.

Note that any product that uses a radio or receiver of some kind must be FCC certified. This is compulsory and doesn’t just apply to mobile phones and laptops: if your device is a children’s toy with a walkie-talkie built in even, you still need to get certification. The good news though is that this is relatively easy to accomplish and there are nearly 300 test firms worldwide which can help you to get certification – including UL which we looked at in the last article.

Once certified, your product/documentation will then bear the FCC logo (which is a black F and two Cs with a smaller C inside the first).

Food Grade Plastics

Food grade plastics, rather than being edible plastics, are plastics which ‘come into contact’ with anything humans are likely to eat. In other words, then that means food packaging, but it also means lunch boxes, Tupperware, plastic crockery and cutlery, mugs and even place mats.

If your product falls into that category, then there are certain government regulations that the FDA have in place to ensure that your plastics aren’t toxic and won’t cause health problems.

This means that your plastic needs to meet at least a basic of purity. It must not contain dyes, additives or recycled plastic deemed toxic (recycling is okay, but you need to know where those recycled materials came from). Helping you out here is the fact that plastics in the US and Canada all carry a symbol and a number ranging from 1-7, HDPE for instance is code 2 and is suitable for milk containers and a range of other purposes, while PET/PETE is code 1 and is often used for squeeze-bottles and plastic jars. Making life a little more complicated though is the fact that different foods will react with different plastics in different ways; this means you need to really think about which plastic you are using and it’s important to do your research before committing. This link can help to get you started:

While it can all seem like a bit of a headache right now, health and safety should be right at the top of your priorities as a businessman or woman and can give you a competitive edge as well. Take the time to research these things fully now, and you’ll save yourself a lot more trouble in the long run.

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