v1 Jan 2014

Nigel Leak

This work by Lucideon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
4.0 International License.

by Lucideon 2
Typically, modern ceramic dinnerware services
consist of both tableware and ovenware items;
these wares are available in a wide range of
shapes and decorations.
During the service life, each item will be
repeatedly heated and cooled, have contact with
food, cutlery and dishwasher reagents, and as a
result be subject to varying degrees of stress,
mechanical impact and chemical attack. Vendors
have a responsibility to demonstrate that items
are able to withstand reasonable exposure to
these forces, i.e. “they are fit for purpose”. To
achieve this, items must demonstrate compliance
to relevant legislative requirements and
performance test standards.
Within this guide, buyers and retailers of ceramic
dinnerware are provided with the domestic
market guidelines for the legislation and
performance tests commonly used to determine
the “fitness for purpose” of ceramic items sold in
the UK.
It is a mandatory requirement that ceramic items
intended for food contact comply with The
Ceramic Articles in Contact with Food (England)
Regulations 2006, for the following criteria:
- The lead and cadmium release limits specified
in Council Directive 84/500/EEC, as amended
by Council Directive 2005/31/EC
- Manufacturers and importers to supply a
declaration of compliance with the above
requirement. Distributors, including retailers,
must ensure that a valid declaration is
obtained with every delivery.
Test Method Title
BS EN 1183
Materials and articles in contact with foodstuff – Test methods for thermal
shock and thermal shock endurance
BS EN 13258
Materials and articles in contact with foodstuff – Test methods for crazing
resistance of ceramic articles
BS EN 12980
Materials and articles in contact with foodstuff – Methods of test for
determining impact resistance
BS EN 12875-1
Mechanical dishwashing resistance of utensils – Part 1: Reference test method
for domestic articles
BS EN 12875-2
Mechanical dishwashing resistance of utensils – Part 2: Inspection of non-
metallic articles
Figure 1. British and European Performance Tests for Domestic Ceramic Dinnerware

The British and European Standard tests, by
which the performance of ceramic dinnerware
may be measured, are listed in Figure 1.
At present, a number of performance criteria are
not covered by British or European Standards.
Leading ceramic test laboratories are able to
accommodate this gap through “in-house” tests.
Such performance criteria include:
- Suitability for freezer use
- Handle strength and the integrity of the
handle attachment
- Handle and knob temperature
- Lid security
- Pouring characteristics
- Water retention
- Metal marking.

by Lucideon 3

Figure 2. The edge of a dinner plate being
subjected to the BS EN 12980 impact test

The various categories of ceramic dinnerware:
china/porcelain, bone china, stoneware and
earthenware, distributed within EU countries,
have precise technical definitions based on: water
absorption values, the presence of translucency
and, in the case of bone china, composition.
Identifying the precise category of ceramic
dinnerware is essential in order to ensure:
1. Goods imported into the EU are calculated for
the correct import tariff
2. Products are labelled correctly for sale in the
UK and other EU countries
The test methods and Standards by which
ceramic dinnerware may be classified for sale in
EU countries is summarised in Figure 3.
Test Method Title
679/72/EC Combined Nomenclature - Chapter 69 - Ceramics
BS EN 1184
Materials and articles in contact with foodstuff – Test methods for
translucency of ceramic articles
BS EN 1217
Materials and articles in contact with foodstuff – Test methods for water
absorption of ceramic articles
BS EN 1900
Materials and articles in contact with foodstuff – Non-metallic tableware -
Figure 3. British and European Performance Tests for the Classification of Domestic Ceramic

Through the experience of using these test
standards over a number of years, it has been
possible to correlate test results with service
performance, and therefore utilise such results as
a benchmark to indicate a product’s “fitness for
purpose”. In 2003, a consortium of the UK’s
leading importers, distributors, retailers and
manufacturers of ceramic dinnerware was
formed; BSI and Lucideon combined their
experience and published the Publically Available
Specification (PAS) document for domestic
ceramicware and glassware – PAS 54. Since its
publication, PAS 54 has become the guide by
which leading retailers, importers, distributors
and manufactures of ceramic dinnerware base
their product performance specifications.
Testing ceramic dinnerware to Standards
ultimately verifies products are fit for purpose,
and also provides the vendor with the
reassurance that the products are durable, of the
required quality and have a minimum risk of
failure during service.
Independent testing provides third party
verification that ceramic dinnerware meets or
exceeds the requirements of PAS 54. This can
prove crucial if a product’s fitness for purpose is
called into question or, if a dispute arises
between a vendor and customer.

by Lucideon 4
When selecting a laboratory that provides
reliable results, the laboratory must be:
- Independent
- Internationally recognised
- ISO 17025 accredited (this indicates the
laboratory is required to maintain calibration
records for all test equipment, hold detailed
records for all test procedures and is annually
externally audited).
The value of reliable test results cannot be
underestimated; inaccurate results lead to
incorrect decisions which, in turn, can lead to
huge financial losses on large consignments. The
main cause of incorrect results is equipment
being out of calibration and human error relating
to an insufficient understanding of the test
Using test laboratories which meet this criteria,
provides the best guarantee that test results will
be reliable.
Almost all of the technical considerations that
need to be made when procuring or selling
ceramic dinnerware can be met through
conducting the mentioned tests and comparing
the results to the requirements laid down in PAS
54. Compliance to, or exceeding the performance
criteria of PAS 54, will provide the ceramic
dinnerware vendor with confidence that their
products are fit for purpose and pose a minimum
failure risk whilst in service to the customer.

by Lucideon


Lucideon is a leading international provider of
materials development, testing and assurance.

Through its offices and laboratories in the UK, US
and the Far East, Lucideon provides materials
and assurance expertise to clients in a wide range
of sectors, including healthcare, construction,
ceramics and power engineering.

The company aims to improve the competitive
advantage and profitability of its clients by
providing them with the expertise, accurate
results and objective, innovative thinking that
they need to optimise their materials, products,
processes, systems and businesses.


Nigel has a career spanning over thirty-five years
in the ceramics industry and joined Lucideon
after graduating from North Staffordshire
Polytechnic with a Degree in Ceramic
Technology. Nigel is also a member of the
Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining, and BSI
CW029 Committee.
Nigel has dedicated his profession to solving
faults in the tableware, tile and sanitaryware
sectors and linking manufacturing issues to
service performance. This commitment has seen
him undertake technical audits and investigations
throughout the world, including North and South
America, South Africa, Europe and South East
Nigel convenes technical committees and interest
groups for the retail, tableware and tile sectors,
and additionally takes an active role in standards
development. With his depth of knowledge and
experience Nigel delivers training courses at
venues worldwide to manufacturers, distributors
and retailers of ceramic tabletop items.