French concerns over bisphenol A (BPA) have not been dispelled in the wake of the opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that the chemical poses no health risk through dietary exposure, said France’s food safety agency.
At the beginning of this month, EFSA once again declared BPA was safe in food contact materials at current levels – after reviewing research that had caused authorities in France to raise fresh fears over the substance and led to the Government committing to ban it in packaging from 2014.
However, in the wake of the difference of opinion between the two, ANSES, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety, told FoodProductionDaily.com that it would continue with its research.
“The recent EFSA opinion does not call into question ANSES’s conclusions, which remain incomplete”, said a spokesperson from the body. “Another opinion, which will incorporate the call for contributions launched in late September, will be published by ANSES in early 2012.”
French BPA fears
French officials revealed their concerns about BPA in September as part of ongoing research into possible health hazards from the substance.
The body published two reports highlighting what it said were “proven” negative health effects in animals and “suspected” ones in humans. While stressing more research was needed it declared it had enough scientific evidence to identify that reducing BPA exposure in vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and children was a priority.
Eliminating the chemical from food contact materials –identified as the main source of human exposure – was flagged up as the main objective.
Acting on the reports, the French Parliament later passed a law to ban the presence of BPA from 2014 onwards.
Responding to the move, EFSA said it would review the studies that had provoked ANSES’ fears – but again stated on 1 December that it could not find any evidence to suggest that BPA posed a human health risk through dietary exposure.
European food safety watchdog said the main reason for the rejecting ANSES’ concerns was that the French agency’s hazard assessment had included “elements which could be relevant for the safety assessment of non-dietary exposure to BPA, whereas the EFSA opinion of 2010 addresses the assessment of risk from dietary exposure to BPA”.