hearing on packaging chemical imminent
By Jane Byrne, 10-Feb-2009
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Packaging/US-hearing-on-packaging-chemical-imminent
The US food
safety regulator is set to provide more information to the public later this
month about its safety review of Bisphenol A (BPA),
the chemical found in packaging.
A spokesperson for the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told FoodProductionDaily.com that it will
update its Science Board in a public meeting on 24 February regarding its
continued assessment of BPA
in FDA-regulated products, including food contact applications.
BPA is used in certain
packaging materials such as polycarbonates for baby food bottles. It is also
used in epoxy resins
for internal protective linings for canned food and metal lids.
Agency under fire
The FDA's handling of BPA has been criticised by scientists
and US lawmakers.
Last year, the agency
claimed the packaging chemical was safe at current levels in consumer
products but it used industry-funded reports to support this assessment.
community argued that the FDA, in its review of the chemical, should have
also included independent studies that have raised uncertainties regarding
the potential effects of low dose exposure to BPA in humans, in particular
In December, the
agency said it was undertaking further research on BPA, which would include
consideration of some of those studies.
BPA reduction bid
Meanwhile, the FDA
has revealed that, in conjunction with Health Canada’s Health Products and Food
Branch, it hosted a meeting last month for representatives of US and Canadian
manufacturers to discuss what is being done to help minimize the levels of
BPA in food.
The US agency
said the meeting was part of its efforts to assist industry in its voluntary
BPA reduction efforts.
The seminar, it said,
also provided a forum for informing the industry in regard to the FDA’s and Health Canada’s current activities and planned
research to further assess the exposure to BPA and manage any potential risks
from the chemical.
Moreover, said the US
regulator, the meeting included a discussion about the different uses of BPA
in food contact applications and the availability of fully functional and
evaluated alternative substances.
It was also suggested
at the meeting, according to the FDA, that polycarbonate baby bottles could
cease to be a substantial component of the North American market in the
future due to the increasing availability of alternative products.
Baby bottle ban
Last autumn, Canada became the first country in the world
to take regulatory action to prohibit the use of BPA in baby bottles, while
bills are currently under consideration in the US states of Washington,
Minnesota and Connecticut that aim to ban the use of the
chemical in products aimed at children under the age of three.
The FDA spokesperson
told this publication that in addition to the hearing on BPA at the Science
Board meeting, a working group is scheduled to bring the experts up to date
on a project related to rapid detection of Salmonella in foods.