Protecting the Consumer and Servicing
the Trade with Independence and Integrity

boxes for packaging test 2 The RAPEX alert system, an EU wide bulletin that advises of items withdrawn from the EU market due to consumer product safety issues frequently reports issues with packaging. The EU Packaging Directive 94/62/EC regulates all packaging placed on the EU market and all packaging waste.  The directive is concerned with the environmental impact of packaging after use. The legislation covers all packaging for all items and lays down essential requirements including those related to marking and identification, i.e. labelling of materials. To facilitate collection, reuse and recovery (including recycling), packaging can be marked in such a way that it is possible to identify and classify the nature of the packaging material. Michelle Prep - Packaging  The European standardisation body (CEN) formulated six European standards that further specified the essential requirements of directive 94/62/ EC. The identification system is currently voluntary but many European suppliers have accepted this as the norm and are following the regulations as a matter of course. In order to try to limit long term detrimental impact on the environment certain heavy metals are restricted under Article 11 of the Packaging directive.  A maximum concentration level of a total of 100 ppm by weight is set for lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and mercury in packaging or packaging components. This is a low limit, lower than that allowed in the jewellery or watch which may be contained in the packaging in some cases. It needs expertise and an understanding of the legislation in order to test accurately. The Analytical Laboratory at Assay Office Birmingham has all the necessary expertise to deliver an accurate independent, UKAS accredited report which will carry authority throughout the EU. Suppliers and retailers do need to take note because this legislation is being enforced. In October, the marketing of a bike lock was banned as the packaging contained excessive amounts of Cadmium (measured value: up to 300 mg/kg). RAPEX[1] In March, fancy dress costumes were withdrawn from the market in Sweden. The outfits were withdrawn because the plastic in the packaging contained cadmium above the permitted levels (measured value: up to 251 mg/kg).

The Analytical Laboratory can carry out testing to determine if items are complaint with the Packaging Waste Directive For more information, contact Tim Smith or Steve Franklin on 0121 262 1017 or e-mail

 reach for the glass The Analytical Laboratory can also carry out testing to determine if packaging is likely to tarnish jewellery. To read more about this test please click here. To download a Lab Test Application Form, please follow the link below:



The Birmingham Assay Office to sponsor the BATF Platinum Jubilee Competition 2022

20th Jan 2022

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The Birmingham Assay Office welcomes local manufacturer to witness the first commemorative mark struck in Birmingham to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

1st Nov 2021

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The Birmingham Assay Office celebrates twenty-one employees for their long service with a combined total of 360 dedicated years.

27th Oct 2021

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25th Sep 2018

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City of Wolverhampton wins Touchstone Award 2018

8th Jun 2018

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2nd May 2018

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