The regulation of food contact materials in the Member States of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf – also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council and hereafter referred to as the GCC – is characterized by consensus-based standards established by the GCC Standardization Organization (GSO). The GSO standards set forth general conditions and specific compositional requirements for various types of food contact materials. In large part, the requirements of these standards mirror the European Union’s (EU) regulations on food contact materials. Following a global trend, a number of GCC member states have recently imposed new restrictions on plastic bags and other single-use plastic articles, which impact plastic food contact materials.
Background on the GCC
The GCC was established in 1981 as a strategic union of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar, and the State of Kuwait. It is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Joint defense and security were major drivers of the creation of the GCC, but free trade between the Member States is another significant purpose of the GCC. The basic objectives of the GCC described in its Charter include coordination and unity between the Member States, stimulating scientific and technological progress in a number of fields, and establishing common regulations in a variety of areas.