FDA rejects call to eliminate BpA from food packaging in US

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 2nd April 2012

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rejected a petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) seeking a ban on bisphenol A (BpA) being used in food packaging in the US.

The FDA said the petition failed to demonstrate the need for immediate regulatory action. In announcing its decision, the agency said that BpA, at current levels of exposure, is safe for use in food packaging.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical that has been present in many hard plastic bottles and metal-based food and beverage cans since the 1960s. It is one of the world’s highest production volume chemicals.

In rejecting a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council, the agency emphasized it was not making a final determination of BPA’s. The FDA said it is continuing to consider the low dose toxicity studies of BpA as well as other recent peer-reviewed studies related to BpA.

Commenting on the decision, NRDC’s Dr. Sarah Jansse said, “The FDA is out-of-step with scientific and medical research.  This illustrates the need for a major overhaul of how the government protects us against dangerous chemicals.”

International regulatory stance on BpA

The decision by FDA is consistent with international regulatory reviews of BpA by the World Health Organization, the European Food Safety Authority, Health Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

In January 2010, Australia’s food agency Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) evaluated the safety of BpA in food. It concluded that levels of intake of BpA do not pose a significant human health risk for any age group.

However, in June 2010, the Australian Government announced the voluntary phase-out by major Australian retailers of polycarbonate plastic baby bottles containing BpA. The government claimed this was “in response to consumer preference and demand and not an issue about product safety”.