EFSA to review potential hazards and safety levels of food contact material bisphenol A

EU – The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has unveiled a new working group of scientific experts to evaluate recent technological data on the potential hazards and safety limits of the food contact material bisphenol A (BPA).

The re-assessment, set to start this month will be carried out by EFSA’s Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP) to review the temporary safe level set in EFSA’s previous full risk assessment from 2015.

According to EFSA, the new assessment should be ready by 2020.

“I’m pleased to announce that we have selected the experts for our new BPA working group.

“Their job is to review data published since December 2012 – the cut-off point of EFSA’s last assessment of BPA.

They will be aided in this work by the scientific protocol for the hazard assessment of BPA, finalised by EFSA and a group of international experts in 2017 and then discussed during a public workshop,” said Dr Claudia Roncancio Peña, head of food ingredients and packaging at EFSA.

Toxicity concerns

This is among several assessments carried out by the European Union’s agency on BPA as a substance used in food contact materials.

BPA is a starting material for the synthesis of clear and tough plastics used to make a variety of common consumer goods, such as plastic bottles including water bottles.

Its estrogen characteristic and hormone-like properties that raise concern about its suitability in some consumer products and food containers.

US Food and Drug Administration in collaboration with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and NTP developed the Consortium Linking Academic and Regulatory Insights on BPA Toxicity (CLARITY-BPA) to study a full range of potential health effects from exposure to BPA to provide data that can be used for regulatory decisions.

Since 2008, several governments have investigated its safety, which prompted some retailers to withdraw polycarbonate products.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ended its authorization of the use of BPA in baby bottles and infant formula packaging, based on market abandonment, not safety.

In its June update on its perspective on BPA in food contact applications, FDA said that BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods

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On the other hand, European Union and Canada have banned BPA use in baby bottles.

EFSA’s validation

Now the working group will evaluate the results of the CLARITY-BPA Program carried out in the US.

“As a first step, the experts will test EFSA’s new methodology for appraising evidence on BPA toxicity on a representative selection of key studies from previous assessments and publish the results.

This is a direct response to feedback we received during the public consultation on the protocol,” added Dr Roncancio Peña.

EFSA launched a call for data for the hazard assessment of BPA and the deadline was recently extended to 15 October 2018.

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