A furious consumer backlash has prompted Sigg to issue a public apology over revelations that the liner of its metals bottles made before summer 2008 contain bisphenol A (BPA).
Last month, Sigg CEO Steve Wasik sent a letter to shareholders announcing that bottles manufactured before August last year have a water-based epoxy liner that “contained a trace amount of BPA”.
Missed the mark
But despite the company insisting that all tests had shown no evidence of leaching of the controversial chemical, Wasik was forced to apologise this week after receiving hundreds of emails from Sigg customers expressing their anger and sense of betrayal.
In a further letter posted on the Swiss-based company’s site he said: “After reading and responding to hundreds of emails and viewing nearly as many blog and Twitter posts, I realize that my first letter may have missed the mark.
“What I should have said simply and loudly to all of our loyal Sigg fans is: I am sorry that we did not make our communications on the original Sigg liner more clear from the very beginning.”
Sigg bottles have become highly fashionable and popular in recent years, in part due to the perception that they were a BPA-free alternative to polycarbonate containers. BPA used in polycarbonate bottles and can linings, has aroused increasing public concern in recent years over researching suggesting links to cancer, birth defects and the onset of early puberty.
In his August communication, Wasik acknowledged that this consumer anxiety was the driving force behind the company developing a BPA-free liner. It began the process to the new liner in 2006. The firm made the adjustment to its production programme last August following a two-year testing and development programme at its Swiss plant costing more than $1m.
But the Sigg boss admitted the company had failed to communicate properly with its customers on the issue.
He said: “I have learned much over the past two weeks. I learned that many of you purchased Sigg bottles - not just because they were free from leaching and safe - but because you believed that Siggs contained no BPA.
“I learned that, although Sigg never marketed the former liner as ‘BPA Free’ we should have done a better job of both clearly communicating about our liner as well as policing others who may have misunderstood the Sigg message.”
The company has given customers the opportunity to change the lining on older containers for the new BPA-free version.