French call for ‘systematic labelling’ of bisphenol A

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bpa Bisphenol a European food safety authority

The French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA) has recommended that consumers should be alerted to the presence of bisphenol A (BPA) in packaging via a system of “systematic labelling”.

Giving an update on its ongoing research into BPA, AFSSA director general Marc Mortureux said labelling would allow consumers to avoid excessively heating containers that contain the chemical. This is because heating has been shown to accentuate the migration of BPA from food contact materials into food and drink.

Mortureux added that labelling would help protect those consumers most at risk from BPA. Here, the head of the French food safety body highlighted recent studies indicating that BPA exposure below the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) among pregnant women could have toxic effects.

These latest recommendations follow an analysis of more than 700 studies on the presence of BPA in food.

Exposure levels

AFSSA said this research shows that average exposure to BPA in France, at 1µg/kg of body weight a day, is actually well below the TDI which the European Food Safety Authority has set at 50 µg/kg.

But average exposure figures hide possible differences between people that may result from different eating habits. For example, AFSSA said the data on BPA reveals that levels of migration can vary significantly according to packaging type and product category.

In addition, the evidence surrounding the sensitivity of pregnant women to BPA suggests that TDI may need to be reconsidered.

EFSA opinion

EFSA is expected to approach this question as well as debates on the methodology used to evaluate BPA risks in an opinion that is due before the end of May.

On the back of the publication of the opinion, Mortureux called for an examination at a European level of measures to reinforce consumer protection and reduce exposure levels.

The director general of AFSSA also urged industry to mobilise itself to develop appropriate alternatives to BPA for food packaging.

Related topics Processing & Packaging