An EU-wide ban of bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact material (FCMs) has been backed by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The vote was part of an amendment from the Greens group, to a draft implementation report on regulation of FCMs. MEPs said materials such as plastics and ceramics have been tested for safety to human health while others including varnishes and coatings, inks and adhesives, have not. They added the EU Commission should prioritise drawing up specific measures for paper and board, varnishes and coatings, metals and alloys, printing inks and adhesives given market prevalence and risks they could pose. FCMs are subject to legally binding rules at EU level. Specific measures have been adopted for four of them. For the others, Member States may adopt specific measures at national level. Lack of harmonised rules Rapporteur Christel Schaldemose said a lack of harmonised rules causes problems for consumers, companies and authorities. In reality, it means that the single market is not a single market: some countries have high standards, other low standards, she said. We know from various studies that it is what is in the packaging that is causing health problems. The EU should therefore revise the current legislation. Food safety should mean the same thing across the EU. Greens said the vote sends a strong signal to the European Commission. Greens welcome this vote and the introduction of this specific amendment on BPA, which is a strong call to urgently tackle shortcomings in the implementation and enforcement of the existing legislation on food contact materials. Now its time for the Commission to act. Greater focus on risk assessment, traceability and enforcement would ensure more safety on what ends up on citizens plates. Amendment based on tenuous logic The BPA coalition said the amendment shows members of the European Parliament have decided they know more about the impact of FCMs on human health than the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). This amendment is based on tenuous logic at best. The request for a general ban of BPA in food contact materials contradicts the conclusion of the EFSA from January 2015 which concluded that there is No consumer health risk from Bisphenol A exposure. [The] ban on BPA in food contacts called for by MEPs in October is misleading, as it discredits the work of Europes expert toxicologists and scientist, creates and exacerbates problems of trust in public agencies such as EFSA, and undermines other important legislative efforts. EFSA began another evaluation of the chemical earlier this year with a final scientific opinion expected in 2018. The agency completed its first full risk assessment in 2006. The most recent review in 2015 of exposure and toxicity concluded it poses no health risk to consumers of any age at current exposure levels. It set a temporary tolerable daily intake (TDI) for BPA pending the results of a two-year study by the US National Toxicology Program in 2017. Scientific evidence on potential effects of BPA on the immune system raised by Dutch National Institute for Public health and the Environment (RIVM) prompted EFSAs review.
Food Quality News, 11 October 2016 ;http://www.foodqualitynews.com/ ;