July 15. 2024. 7:56

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EU countries endorse ban of Bisphenol A in food packaging

EU member states backed a proposal to ban Bisphenol A (BPA) in food and drink packaging, to protect the health of citizens and ensure “the highest food safety standards,” the European Commission said on 12 June.

The BPA ban will apply to food contact materials, such as the coating used on metal cans, and consumer articles such as kitchen utensils, tableware, plastic drink bottles, and water distribution coolers, the European Commission explained in a press release.

The decision was based on scientific advice from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which concluded in April 2023, that current levels of exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) had “potential harmful effects on the immune system.”

EFSA set a tolerable daily intake (TDI) – the amount of a substance in food deemed safe for people – at 0.2 nanograms per kilogram (ng/kg) of body weight, which is 20,000 times lower than the provisional TDI of 4 micrograms per kilo of body weight recommended in its previous opinion (2015).

BPA has been widely used in food and drink packaging since the 1960s. However, since the late 1990s, the substance has been suspected of causing adverse health effects by migrating into food.

In 2011, the EU moved to ban its use in polycarbonate baby bottles. It introduced further restrictions in 2018, on its use in drinking bottles and containers for babies and children, paints and coatings.

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, and Sweden have already introduced restrictions on BPA products.

The new measures follow a public consultation launched last February, and extensive discussions with all member states, explained the Commission.

EU Commission moves to ban Bisphenol A in food packaging

The European Commission launched a consultation on a draft proposal to phase out the use of the controversial chemical bisphenol A in food contact materials, including plastic boxes, protective coatings for cans, and food processing equipment.

The ban will be formally adopted following “a scrutiny period by the European Parliament and the Council,” entering into force at the end of 2024. The transition period is between 18 and 36 months.

The Commission noted that “limited exceptions where there are no available safe alternatives and transition periods will apply,” if these do not pose a risk to consumers.

“This will allow industry to adjust and avoid potential disruptions to the food chain,” it concluded.

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