Bisphenol A: EU Commission proposes ban in food contact materials

The European Commission has recently put forward a draft regulation aimed at banning bisphenol A (BPA) and other bisphenols in food contact materials (FCMs).    

The proposal includes a 36-month transition period for varnishes, coatings, and professional production equipment, as well as an 18-month transition period for other FCMs. However, there are certain exemptions in place.    

Under the draft regulation, the disodium salt of bisphenol A will be permitted for the production of polysulfone resins used in plastic food contact membranes, as long as its migration into food is undetectable. Additionally, the synthesis of the starting substance BADGE using BPA will be allowed for the manufacturing of heavy-duty varnishes and coatings applied to materials and articles with a capacity exceeding 250 liters, provided that no migration of residual BPA into food is detected. Long-life products like processing gaskets will have a grace period of up to 10 years.    

Regarding the presence of BPA as a contaminant in FCMs made from recycled materials, the proposal acknowledges that it would not be practical or proportionate to prohibit its unintentional presence. Instead, the responsibility for monitoring and reporting the unintentional presence of BPA in recycled paper and board food contact materials and articles will be placed on business operators, with oversight by Member States.    

In addition to the ban on BPA, the draft regulation also imposes restrictions on all other bisphenols used in FCMs. These bisphenols will need to undergo a risk assessment and authorization process to ensure their use in food contact materials does not pose a threat to human health. The Commission notes that this assessment is already being conducted for all plastic FCMs under Regulation (EU) No 10/2011.    

The proposed restriction is expected to come into effect in late 2025 or early 2026. This regulatory initiative follows an updated scientific opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which found that current dietary exposure to BPA is unsafe. As a result, the tolerable daily intake (TDI) for BPA has been reduced significantly.    

The draft regulation is currently open for public comments until March 8, 2024. Stakeholders and interested parties are encouraged to provide their feedback during this period.    

The European Commission's proposal reflects the growing concerns surrounding the presence of BPA and other bisphenols in food contact materials. By implementing these restrictions, the Commission aims to ensure the safety of consumers and protect public health. It also aligns with the ongoing efforts to establish stricter regulations on chemicals used in food packaging across the European Union.    



EU Commission