In an article published on November 23, 2015 by the news provider ENDS Europe, journalist Valerie Flynn reports on the recently released European Commission (EC) roadmap entitled “Proposal for a new measure on bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials (FCMs).” The roadmap – prepared by the EC’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) – presents and assesses five different options for EU-wide regulation of BPA (CAS 80-05-7) in FCMs:
1) No policy change,
2) modification of legislative restrictions for BPA in plastic FCMs at EU level,
3) modification of legislative restrictions for BPA in plastic FCMs at EU level and introduction of measures for BPA in coatings and varnishes at EU level,
4) modification of legislative restrictions for BPA in plastic FCMs at EU level and introduction of measures for BPA in food contact coatings and varnishes as well as other food contact materials in which BPA may be present, and
5) ban on BPA in all food contact materials at EU level.
The EC’s proposal for new legislation comes in response to several issues surrounding the use of BPA in FCMs in the EU. Currently, BPA is authorized for use in plastic FCMs (EU 10/2011) but banned for the manufacture of baby bottles (EU 321/2011). The largest use of BPA in FCMs however is in epoxy-based coatings on metal FCMs, and this application has no harmonized, EU-wide legislation.
Since January 2015, the presence of BPA in any type of FCM is banned in France (FPF reported). This national measure is therefore in conflict with the authorization of BPA in plastic FCMs. Other Member States have introduced measures to reduce the presence of BPA in FCMs for children (Denmark, Sweden, Belgium).
Further, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reassessed the risks to human health posed by BPA exposure and updated its scientific opinion in January, 2015 (FPF reported). EFSA lowered the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) from 50 to 4 µg/kg body weight/day. However, the current specific migration limit (SML) for BPA in plastic is 0.6 mg/kg and is based on a TDI of 10 µg/kg body weight/day (EFSA opinion 2007). On the basis of the new temporary TDI set in 2015, the SML could be lowered to 0.24 mg/kg food, according to roadmap options 2, 3 and 4 (“modification of legislative restrictions”).
No time frame is specified for an implementation plan, however DG SANTE plans to discuss next steps with “all relevant stakeholders including EU Member States and industry.” The roadmap is open for public consultation until December 17, 2015.
Valerie Flynn (November 23, 2015). “Brussels to regulate BPA in food packaging.” ENDS Europe
Joe Whitworth (November 24, 2015). “EU Commission evaluating options to legislate BPA in packaging.” Food Production Daily
EC (November 19, 2015). “Proposal for a new measure on bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials.”
Michael Warhurst (December 17, 2015). “EU discussing new restrictions on bisphenol A in food contact materials.” CHEM Trust