French Health Minister backs total packaging ban on bisphenol A by 2014

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

French Health Minister backs total packaging ban on bisphenol A by 2014
The French Health Minister has given his backing to a law that would outlaw the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in all food packaging from 2014 – as well as proposing that the chemical should be banned in all packing aimed at children from 2013.

The deadline would keep the pressure on industry players to find suitable replacements for the substance which is used in a range of packaging applications – including the epoxy linings of food and beverage cans, said Health chief Xavier Bertrand.

The measures, if enacted, would make France the first country in the world to prohibit use of the substance in food contact materials. Bill 3773 was registered in the National Assembly on 28 September, 2011 by Deputy Michele Delaunay.

The proposed law also calls for the introduction of warning labels onto any food packaging that contain BPA for pregnant women and children under three.

The French Health Minister declared Friday a recent report published by the country’s food safety agency ANSES that raised further concerns over the health hazards of exposure to BPA had convinced him to throw his support behind the proposal to ban the chemical.

He becomes the second cabinet member in France to back the bill after Ecology Minister Nancy Kosciusko-Morizet endorsed the measure two weeks ago.

Food contact materials must be targeted as they were the major source of exposure to the chemical, said Bertrand.

The Minister said the research had convinced him of the dangers from low-level exposure to BPA in animals - and that these effects could extend to those most sensitive to the substance - pregnant women and children.

Bertrand not only supported the bill under the precautionary principle but also proposed extending its scope to include outlawing BPA in all packaging aimed at children aged three and under.

Industry needs time to adapt

The Minister welcomed an amended version of the Bill as “it takes into account the time needed to adapt, while maintaining a certain pressure”.

While it was necessary for manufacturers to develop BPA alternative, he stressed that these “must be both safe and effective”.

ANSES is working closely with industry players and is due to submit a report on BPA alternatives to the Health chief by 31 October 2012.

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