EU Draft Regulation on Bisphenol A in Food Packaging - Compliance Digest

February 02, 2018

In this edition of the Compliance Digest, we cover a draft proposal in the EU to lower the limit of Bisphenol A in food packaging.

Draft Regulation – Bisphenol A in varnishes and coatings and plastics intended to come into contact with food

What is it?

On January 11, 2018, members of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety voted in favor of a draft proposal by the European Commission to lower the specific migration limit (SML) of Bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials (FCMs). The draft proposal also prohibits any BPA from migrating into infant formula and baby food.

While the draft EU regulation restricts further the migration of BPA from FCMs into food, it does not completely ban BPA in food packaging, which was requested by some stakeholders, especially NGOs.

What is Bisphenol A?

Bisphenol A (BPA) (CAS 80-05-7) is used in the manufacture of certain materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. BPA can migrate into food from the material or article with which it is in contact, resulting in exposure to BPA for consumers. In addition to its use in plastic food contact materials, BPA is used extensively in epoxy resins for varnishes and coatings, particularly for application on the interior of food cans.

Exposure to BPA may produce serious long-term health impacts for humans. BPA has already been listed as a in the EU because of its potential health effects. EU member states have also taken steps against BPA. Belgium has a national ban on BPA in FCMs for infants and young children, Sweden in coatings and varnishes for FCMs for infants and young children, and France in food packaging, containers and utensils (it’s prohibited to export BPA in food packaging to France, but French companies can export it to the EU).

What are the requirements?

Under the draft regulation, the specific migration limit (SML) into food of BPA from plastic materials and articles would be reduced from 0.6 mg of BPA per kg of food (mg/kg) to 0,05 mg. The new SML would also apply to varnishes or coatings applied to materials and articles intended to come into contact with food, such as food cans.

In addition, no migration of BPA would be allowed into infant formula, follow-on formula, processed cereal-based food, baby food or food for special medical purposes developed to satisfy the nutritional requirements of infants and young children.

What is next?

The European Council has already scrutinized the draft regulation, paving the way for its adoption, which is expected in the next few months, according to ChemicalWatch. The draft regulation would then apply six months after entry into force.

View the recording of our webinar “Addressing Chemical Management Challenges in 2018” with Verisk 3E to learn more about specific regulatory developments expected in 2018, and how to prepare for them.

Addressing Chemical Management Challenges in 2018