Food Engineering
TECH FLASH

BPA on the way out

March 27, 2012

Tuna canLast year, FDA announced plans to ban bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and children’s sippy cups after the American Chemistry Council petitioned the agency to withdraw approval for the use of polycarbonate resins containing BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. But many would like to see BPA banned altogether from any packaging that comes into intimate contact with foods and beverages. The FDA had committed to decide by March 31, 2012 whether BPA (bisphenol A) should be banned from use in packaging for food and drinks, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Congressman Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) sent FDA three petitions calling on the agency to remove approval for the use of BPA in many of the everyday household products that come in contact with food and beverages. Congressman Markey is a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over FDA. More specifically, Markey’s petitions request FDA to remove the regulatory approval for the use of BPA in infant formula and baby/toddler food packaging, small reusable household food and beverage containers and canned food packaging on the grounds that manufacturers have stopped using BPA in these products. In other words, once manufacturers abandon the use of BPA in products, they should not be able to use it in the future.

Campbell Soup Company has already begun removing BPA-lined cans from its products, and will continue the process until the material has been completely phased out. According to Campbell’s Sustainable Packaging web page, “BPA is widely used in the lining of metal food containers to prevent corrosion and help maintain the food’s safety, quality and flavor. Campbell—with our suppliers—has been researching alternatives to BPA that perform as well as existing packaging.”

Prior to submitting his petitions to FDA, Rep. Markey’s office surveyed all the major manufacturers of infant formula and baby and toddler food (five companies), small reusable household food and beverage containers (seven companies) and canned food and beverages (26 companies) in order to determine their current use of BPA in packaging. The infant formula and baby and toddler food manufacturers all reported that they no longer use BPA in their products. All of the reusable food and beverage container manufacturers reported that they have never used BPA, no longer use BPA or are currently phasing out the use of BPA in their products. Of the canned food and beverage companies that responded, all reported the use of BPA in packaging had ended or the companies had begun phasing out its use.

“Industry practice, fueled by consumer demand, has led to the development of alternatives for BPA in these household products, and these petitions to FDA should close the door on the use of this dangerous chemical in food and beverage containers forever,” says Rep. Markey. “These petitions will help ensure that BPA is forever kept out of our bodies, especially those of infants and children. Feeding time for babies should be laced with love—not laced with chemicals like BPA.”