Metal packagers fear BPA baby bottle ban could trigger wider safety doubts

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bisphenol a

A metal packaging trade body has expressed fears that the ban on bisphenol A (BPA) in polycarbonate baby bottles could raise doubts on the safety of other food contact materials containing the chemical, said the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The food safety watchdog revealed the concerns of the UK metal packaging trade group as it yesterday launched a consultation process over the European Commission’s decision to ban BPA in polycarbonate bottles for infants up to 12 months old. The FSA has asked for industry, retail and consumer players for their views on draft national regulations to implement the European Directive to outlaw use of the substance in baby bottles.

Industry concerns

In October the agency held a scoping meeting with industry and consumer groups to get an indication of the impact of the Commission’s proposals which subsequently led to the announcement of the selective ban which will take full effect by mid 2011.

“The Trade Association representing the metal packaging industry that produces internally coated and uncoated cans, ends and closures for food and drink commented that whilst a ban on BPA in polycarbonate infant feeding bottles would not impact directly on metal packaging, it would however raise doubts on the safety of BPA in the manufacture of food contact materials in general,”​ said the FSA.

But the body added the industry group acknowledged that “the indication that the ban would only apply to plastic materials and articles within the scope of the principal Directive and not specifically cover coatings on metals, hence, this would not directly impact on metal packaging manufacturers”.

On November 30, the European Commission exclusively told that there were no current plans to extend the BPA ban to other food contact materials.

Six months

The food safety body also noted anxieties in the retail sector over the relatively short lead in time for the regulation. The retail trade association said its members would “require an additional six months to a year on top of any Commission deadlines, to ensure completely that all BPA stock would be sold”.

Under the new rules, all BPA-containing bottles would have to be withdrawn from shop shelves by June 2011.

But retail representatives added that the majority of their members had either phased out the use of BPA in infant feeding bottles or were in the process of doing so – meaning the ban would have the least impact on the retail sector.

The FSA has invited all stakeholders to comment on a number of issues including the number of companies affected, the proportion of BPA-free bottles produced in the UK and data on BPA alternatives. The agency also wants to know the quantity and value of stock that would likely face write-off if an immediate ban were introduced.

The deadline for the comments is 14 January 2011.

Related topics Regulation & Safety Smart Packaging

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