EU bans BPA in babies bottles – but not all packaging

Controversial plastics additive Bisphenol A has gained a reprieve after the EU said that it would not ban the substance from all packaging.

Brussels voted last week to outlaw BPA’s use in polycarbonate baby bottles. However, following advice from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), it has no plans to widen the ban to other materials that come into contact with food.

BPA is used in areas such as epoxy liners for food and beverage packaging. A ban on its use in babies’ bottles was passed last Thursday (25 November).

The ban was backed by a majority of member states but four abstained, including the UK. The UK Food Standards Agency expressed concern that insufficient time had been given to examine the proposal and that it maintained the chemical did not pose a risk to consumers.

A spokesman for the European Commission told food news website “We are not planning to take further action because the advice from EFSA does not give us a basis to do so. Everything we do is based on scientific advice from EFSA. If you look at the opinion there is currently no need to move further on BPA.”

EFSA reported in September that after a study it had found no reason to revise the current Tolerable Daily Intake level for BPA of 0.05 mg/kg of body weight, which was set in 2006.

Nevertheless, the EU’s health and consumer commissioner John Dalli responded that EFSA’s guidance had “areas of uncertainty” which meant infant exposure to the chemical should be minimised.

News of the ban has led to concerns that the public could lose confidence in some types of packaging.

A statement from the Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association said the ban “undermines the systems and processes which ensure the safety of food and food contact materials” in Europe.

“The ban will reduce confidence in the reliability of the processes which are installed to guarantee safe food for all European citizens,” the MPMA said.

Plastics Europe Polycarbonate Group saying it was “deeply disturbed” and that the reasons behind the ban were “unconvincing”.

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