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EFSA to evaluate FDA decision on bisphenol A

By Rory Harrington, 18-Jan-2010

Related topics: Quality, Safety, Hygiene, Packaging Technology, Safety & Regulation, BPA & food contact materials

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said it would be contacting the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week to discuss its verdict that bisphenol A (BPA) is now of “some concern”.

The European food safety watchdog was just one of a number of bodies to react after the FDA revealed its step-change decision on Friday that it wanted to see an end to the use of the chemical in the manufacture of baby bottles and would back efforts to replace or minimise its use elsewhere in food can linings.

“We have a co-operation agreement with the FDA and will be liaising with them over this decision,” an EFSA spokesman told FoodProductionDaily.com. He added that EFSA was in constant contact with its US counterparts.

“We will be reviewing the information they have and taking it into account with regard to our position on BPA. The CEF panel is due to meet before the end of the month to consider what, if any, implications it has for EFSA’s position,” said the spokesman.

EFSA is presently carrying out an evaluation of the effects of BPA on neuro-development and is due to publish its findings in spring 2010.

UK unmoved by FDA verdict

The UK Food Standard’s Agency (FSA) said its position remained unaffected in the wake of the FDA update that it was supporting reasonable steps to cut the chemical from the food supply.

“The situation in the UK hasn’t changed," a FSA spokesman said today. “Working closely with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the EC, we recently looked into the potential risks of bisphenol A (BPA) and found that exposure of UK consumers to from all sources, including food contact materials, is well below levels considered harmful."

The UK agency reaffirmed its estimation that a 3-month-old bottle-fed baby weighing around 6 kg would need to consume more than four times the usual number of bottles of baby formula a day before it would reach the tolerable daily intake set by EFSA in 2006.

Europe Plastics, the regional trade association of plastics manufacturers, said it was “disappointed” by the FDA’s announcement and said its recommendations were “not well-founded”. It said there was no evidence that BPA harmed children or adults, and added its members were committed to the safety of their products.