EU experts vote to ban some bisphenols in food packaging

Monday, 17 June, 2024

EU experts vote to ban some bisphenols in food packaging

EU member states expert committee voted on 12 June 2024 to ban some bisphenols, including bisphenol A (BPA), in food-contact materials.

Bisphenols are used in the production of polymers and resins for plastic, which is then used in the lining of some food and beverage packaging to protect food from contamination and extend shelf life. It’s also used in non-food products.

Small amounts of BPA can migrate into food and beverages from containers so back in April 2023, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a re-evaluation of the risks to public health from the presence of BPA in food. EFSA concluded the tolerable daily intake (or TDI) for BPA should be substantially reduced from the temporary value it had previously established in 2015.

Following on from this scientific assessment, the European Commission consequently proposed a comprehensive ban on the use of BPA in food-contact materials and invited parties to provide feedback.  The proposed ban applies, in particular, to food and drink cans but also other types of products such as food processing equipment. This follows a ban six years ago of BPA in drinking bottles and containers for infants and children.

HEAL Health and Chemicals Programme Lead Sandra Jen said: “The decision by EU member states experts to support the restriction of bisphenol A (BPA) and other bisphenols in most food packaging is a long-awaited step to reduce people’s exposure to these harmful chemicals. We now also need a group restriction on the use of bisphenols for all consumer products beyond food contact material to ensure these harmful chemicals will no longer negatively impact people’s health and the environment.”

The European Parliament and the Council will now assess the proposal, which could be adopted by the end of 2024 if there is no opposition.

In Australia and New Zealand, FSANZ continues to monitor the emerging situation with respect to BPA, but notes that previous surveys undertaken in Australia have shown that very few foods contain detectable levels of BPA.

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