European Commission launches consultation on BPA in food applications

14 February 2024 | Muriel Cozier

‘Food has been identified as the main source of human exposure to BPA…’

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on a draft proposal to phase out the use of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in food applications. The public consultation is open until 9 March.

It follows scientific advice from the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), which in November released a risk assessment of food contact materials containing BPA, asserting that: ‘Food has been identified as the main source of human exposure to BPA, followed by dermal absorption, air and dust inhalation, revealing ubiquitous and continuous contact with BPA.’

Just ahead of the EFSA’s risk assessment the European Environment Agency released a briefing which, among other things, found that levels of (BPA) measured in human urine exceeded recently revised European safety thresholds. This ‘raises long term health concerns for everyone,’ the briefing said.

Based on the EFSA opinion the draft proposal asserts the authorisation of BPA for use in the manufacture of plastic food contact materials and articles should be updated. It adds that while there are no validated analytical methods to verify compliance or support the control of BPA in food applications its use in food contact materials, and in several other applications, should be prohibited.

‘The prohibition of BPA will consequently result in business operators needing to identify substances, in particular other bisphenols and their derivatives to replace BPA in the food contact materials and articles where it is currently used,’ the draft document says.

BPA was previously used in baby feeding bottles, but its use in this application was banned in many countries following concerns that the chemical had a negative impact on the health of babies. The European Chemical Agency has designated BPA as a ‘substance of very high concern’.

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