Illegal bamboo fiber products discovered during EU "Bamboo-zling" internet control operation

| 2 min read

The BAVG found illegal products on the Internet during the EU-coordinated control action "Bamboo-zling". The search was for plastic materials intended for contact with food and containing bamboo fibers, which is not permitted within the EU.

Since 1.1.2022, the Federal Office of Consumer:Internal Health (BAVG) has been responsible for parts of the official Internet control. An essential cornerstone of Internet control is the BAVG's cooperation in EU-coordinated control actions concerning e-commerce (Internet commerce). The BAVG carried out its first EU-coordinated control action, called "Bamboo-zling", in close cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection (BMSGPK), the federal provinces and the Competence Center Food Chain of the AGES, and removed illegal products from the market.

Aim of the Europe-wide internet control action "Bamboo-zling".

21 EU Member States participated in the coordinated action of the European Commission together with the EU Agricultural Fraud Network, the competent food safety authorities and the customs authorities. The internet control action aims to stop the illegal import, trade and advertising of plastic items sold as food contact materials, such as tableware, that contain bamboo or other unauthorized vegetable additives. During the year-long campaign, 748 cases of food contact plastic materials containing unapproved bamboo powder were reported. Of these 748 cases, 644 products were already available on the EU market, while 104 goods were rejected at the EU border, with the majority of the illegal products originating from China. The manufacturers, importers and traders were requested by the Member State authorities to immediately remove the products from the market.

Results of the "Bamboo Swindle" action in Austria.

A total of eight illegal products were found internet stores in Austria. Four products or product lines were removed from the market or destroyed by the competent food supervisory authorities of the federal states and their online ordering option was removed. In the course of the action, another four products or product lines were registered in the European Authorities Rapid Alert System RASFF, because the internet stores are operated from abroad. The competent authorities of other member states have been informed and can take further steps if necessary. Some products or product lines were no longer found during the inspection or were no longer available on the market at the time in question. Consumers who have already purchased products that are falsely advertised as being made of "bamboo" but are actually made of plastic are encouraged to contact the retailer or contact the internet platform if they have purchased online.

Legal and health background

Plastic materials intended to come into contact with food may only be manufactured with substances that have undergone a scientific risk assessment and have been approved under Regulation (EU) 10/2011. Most plant additives, including bamboo, have not been evaluated for safety and approved by the EU Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for their use in plastics. Some may therefore pose a health risk. The addition of bamboo to plastic articles/food contact materials can lead to accelerated degradation of the plastic and release of formaldehyde and melamine (=substances used in the manufacture of the plastic) into food. Prolonged exposure to the elevated levels of formaldehyde and melamine can lead to health problems. In addition, these are misleading advertisements that fool consumers into thinking they are buying "eco-friendly," "compostable," or "natural" products. Often, these plastic products are neither sustainable nor recyclable.

For more details and consumer tips, see the EU Commission website

This page has been translated using translation software. In case of doubt, the German version of this website shall apply.