EC plays down reports of EU objections to France BPA ban

By Mark Astley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union

EC plays down reports of EU objections to France BPA ban
The European Commission (EC) has down-played reports of discontent among European Union (EU) member states over the approaching French ban on bisphenol-A (BPA) in food packaging.

According to media reports, several EU member states have lodged objections with the European Commission (EC) in relation to the French ban on BPA in food packaging which is set to come into power in 2014.

Forbes and the UK-based Independent newspaper have run stories suggesting that authorities in the UK, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Slovenia have protested over French plans to ban BPA in food packaging - citing a lack of “sound science”​ and concerns over the trade barrier it could create.

Other major global food safety authorities including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have concluded that BPA, which is used in the manufacture of epoxy linings in food and beverage containers, poses no health hazard in food packaging. 

The European Commission (EC) told that at this stage, it is not aware of where the information outlined in the media reports could have come from.

“No idea”

“At this stage, I don’t know where this information could have come from,”​ said EC spokesman Frederic Vincent. “We have no idea where this claim has come from. The line from us has not changed.”

“In the end what will be important is the EFSA opinion, not whether member states currently have objections to the ban in France.”

Vincent added that EFSA is currently working with France’s Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) to study its findings, but that it is too early to say what the outcome may be.

“If the French study puts forward new evidence on BPA then the European Commission may have to put forward a new proposal to ban BPA in food packaging.”

“We will just have to see if the ANSES findings bring anything new to the table on BPA,”​ he added.

No health risks

The current European Union (EU) stance on BPA stems from an EFSA opinion on the ANSES hazard assessment, which concluded that consumers are not at risk from exposure to BPA from food, despite concerns highlighted in the ANSES report.

“The approach of the ANSES report is that of hazard identification, comprising also elements which could be relevant for the safety assessment of non-dietary exposure to BPA, whereas the EFSA opinion of 2010 addresses the assessment of risk from dietary exposure to BPA. This is the main reason for divergences between the ANSES and EFSA conclusions on BPA,”​ said the EFSA opinion.

Earlier this year, the FDA dismissed calls to ban BPA, citing the lack of scientific evidence surrounding the supposed health risk associated with it.

It has, however, promised to continue research on the exposure to the substance through packaging.

Industry figures have taken steps to end their use of BPA, with Campbell Soup Company one of several promising to phase out its use of the chemical in food packaging.

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