EFSA: BPA safe for use in food packaging

4 December 2011 (Last Updated December 4th, 2011 18:30)

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reaffirms, in its latest report, that the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food packaging applications poses no harm to human health.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reaffirms, in its latest report, that the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food packaging applications poses no harm to human health.

At request of the European Commission (EC), the agency published its third BPA review since 2006 in response to September 2011 reports by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (Anses).

Responding to the French report, EFSA's Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) carried out a full risk assessment of BPA, while Anses' work was limited to hazard identification.

The researchers found the information in relation to the health effects of BPA are the same as in their previous report published in 2010.

The tolerable daily intake (TDI) for BPA, first established by EFSA in 2006, is set to protect all human populations for lifetime exposure to this substance through their diet.

The North American Metal Packaging Alliance (NAMPA) chairman John Rost welcomed the findings and said this latest affirmation should prompt consumers to question the motivation behind the negative publicity on BPA.

According to the NAMPA, BPA-based epoxy coatings, used for example in metal packaging, enable high temperature sterilisation that eliminates the danger of food poisoning or contamination.

"These coatings are extremely effective, thoroughly tested, and safe, as reiterated by this recent EFSA evaluation. Expert risk assessments such as this latest work by EFSA should be what guides policy actions on BPA, not political agendas," Rost said.

The CEF Panel, in an effort to further investigate the possible divergences between Anses and EFSA's conclusions, is reviewing new studies emerging on BPA from its ongoing monitoring of the scientific literature.

BPA is a chemical mainly used in combination with other chemicals to manufacture plastics and resins.

In September 2010, the CEF Panel adopted a scientific opinion on the safety of BPA which confirmed the tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 0.05 mg/kg body weight established in a 2006 EFSA opinion.

According to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, people who consume a serving of canned soup every day for five days had BPA levels of 20.8mg per litre of urine, while people who took fresh soup had levels of 1.1mg a litre.