Understanding BS EN1186 – Food Safety

With so many different glove tests available, it can sometimes be difficult to separate one from the other. In this blog, we will be talking about BS EN1186, including what the test represents; how the test is carried out; how to tell if a product is certified; and which of our products are certified.

What is BS EN1186?

In simple terms, gloves which have undertaken and passed BS EN1186 are certified as safe to use with food, and also with/around foodstuffs – which could include anything from chopping boards to food-containers and packaging; to utensils and catering equipment.

The aim of this test is to manage the release and/or transfer of trace amounts of plastics or chemicals on food and foodstuffs, which could be considered harmful to human health.

How is BS EN1186 tested?

There are 2 parts of BS EN1186 which must be adhered to, these are:

1. Overall migration
The Overall Migration limit (OML) applies to the sum of all substances that can migrate from the food contact material to the food (or food simulant). The overall migration limit is a measure for the inertness of the material.

2. Specific migration
A Specific Migration Limit (SML) applies to an individual substance and is based on toxicological studies. Analytical techniques are used to identify the presence of these substances in food (and food simulates).

Acceptable levels for specific migration vary by substance, whilst overall migration is determined by surface area, with no glove being allowed to transfer over 10mg of material per square decimetre of the tested area.

There are 2 checks which manufacturers can complete to increase the likelihood of their products being compliant, these are:

1. Materials used in manufacture: ensuring that all fibres and materials used in the product are listed in the EU Regulation 10/2011 – this regulation lists all substances (included plastics) which are safe to be in contact with food and/or foodstuffs where human consumption is concerned.
2. Migration testing: checking that migration limits are within the guidelines of the standard.

How to know if a product is certified?

Products which have been tested against and that comply to BS EN1186 will bare the fork and glass symbol. This will be present either on or in the product and should be visible either beside the branding or on the label.

If you are interested more information on the above or on our other ‘foodsafe’ gloves, you can contact us via the below:

Call – 01653 617718
Email –

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