Ban of BPA in all food contact materials?

On the basis of a Report from ANSES (= French National Agency for Food Safety, Environnement and Labour), France has opened up once again the debate on the risks of Bisphenol A.

While Bisphenol A had already been banned in polycarbonate baby bottles [see a previous contribution in our Bulletin] in certain Member States such as France and Denmark, the EU Commission subsequently adopted an analogous decision through Regulation 321/2011[see a previous contribution in our Bulletin].

The plan...

A French draft law is now under discussion and has already been voted on and approved by the Parliament. The draft law as it stands woud prevent the use of this substance in all food contact materials from 2014 onwards. It would also institute a similar ban, to come into force one year earlier, concerning containers aimed at children under the age of three. In addition, all other products containing the substance would require labelling in such a way as to warn consumers of the potential dangers of exposure to the substance.
Although the legislative procedure regarding the ban of BPA in all food contact materials is still ongoing, ANSES in the meantime has already started studying consumer exposure to BPA through other goods such as food, medical equipment, musical instruments and thermal papers.

...and the reactions

At the European level, the Commission has commented on this draft law. and observed that no national ban can be introduced without agreement at EU level. Nevertheless, no concrete initiative will be taken, before EFSA (=European Food Safety Authority) has had the opportunity to assess the report from ANSES.

From the industry’s perspective, the Polycarbonate /BPA- Group and Epoxy Resins Committee (ERC) has commented that such a draft law, if approved, could possibly create a significant amount of distortion to the market for food contact materials in the EU.

It should be stressed that there are other substances that could represent a suitable alternative to Bisphenol A, but the safety of these as food contact materials must first be assessed by the regulatory Authorities before they can be released onto the market. However, this procedure is lengthy and could take up to almost two and a half years, as recently estimated by the French Government.