An increasing number of food contact articles, made from plastic, to which bamboo fibres or other 'natural' substances are added as an additive, are not authorised" under EU regulations have been detected by Member State [European Union] authorities, the Directorate-General said in a statement.

According to DGAV, these products are marketed as biodegradable, ecological, organic, natural or even '100 percent bamboo', but in many cases this labelling represents a "marketing tool" which does not allow them to be identified as mostly plastic.

The Directorate-General also notes that many of these imports into the European Union have resulted in notifications due to the presence of melamine or formaldehyde above the limit values of 2.5 mg/kg and 15 mg/kg.

"The risks of these additives of natural origin in a plastic matrix may arise from the low quality of these additives, from impurities or contaminants they contain, from contributing to the formation of reaction or decomposition products, or from adverse surface changes if the material expands", warns DGAV.

Bearing in mind that plastic materials and objects intended for food contact can only be placed on the market if they comply with the respective Community regulations, the Member States have been urged by the Commission, in "Working Group meetings, to take action to protect consumers by removing 'melamine/bamboo' objects from their market", concludes the Directorate-General.