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Coca-Cola urged to issue report on bisphenol A

By Rory Harrington , 26-Apr-2011
Last updated on 26-Apr-2011 at 13:27 GMT

Coca-Cola will face more calls tomorrow to publish a report on how it will seek to dispel customers concerns over bisphenol A, and what plans it has to develop replacements for the chemical used in its can linings.

The resolution is due to introduced at US company’s annual meeting in Atlanta by shareholder advocacy groups As You Sow, Domini Social Investments and Trillium Asset Management Corporation.

It calls on Coca-Cola chiefs to: “issue a report to their investors disclosing how it is responding to public concerns about the safety of BPA in products; outline a plan to develop alternatives to BPA in can linings; and address what the company is doing to maintain leadership and public trust on this issue”.

Public concerns

"BPA can pose reputational and competitive risks to companies that use it in their products or packaging because of heightened public concern," As You Sow senior program director Michael Passoff told FoodProductionDaily.com. "Coca-Cola has failed year after year to provide investors or consumers with sufficient evidence that it is taking steps to address these very serious public health concerns."

A similar motion introduced by the coalition last year and received 22 per cent shareholders' votes, which represents very strong support from mainstream shareholders, he added.

Passoff said that usually a 10 per cent vote in shareholder vote was usually enough to sway companies sufficiently to take action.

“Coke’s refusal to address this issue proactively - and its willingness to blatantly ignore the concern of 1 of 5 of its shareowners - is why it is the only company targeted with a BPA container shareholder resolution and why it has gained a reputation as the industry laggard on this issue,” he said.

FoodProductionDaily.com contacted Coca-Cola but received no response prior to publication.

Continued use of the chemical in food contact materials is a cause of growing controversy, with a host of studies raising concerns. However, the food packaging industry stresses that major regulatory agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have said it poses no health threat to humans.

But its use has been banned in Europe in polycarbonate baby bottles. Earlier this month Swedish safety agencies proposed that BPA be phased out in food and beverage can linings. The Government is likely to make a decision on this proposal within 12 months.

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