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Denmark and France maintain bisphenol A ban

By Rory Harrington , 04-Oct-2010

Denmark has said that unless Brussels imposes a Europe-wide ban on bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials for young children it will not lift its own ban on the chemical.

The Danes made the statement after confirming there would be no immediate lifting of its outlawing of BPA in food contact materials for children aged three in the wake of the EFSA opinion published last week. Europe’s top food safety body said there was no scientific reason to change the tolerable daily intake (TDI) for the chemical.

France, which earlier this year outlawed the use of the substance in polycarbonate baby bottles, said over the weekend that it would also be maintaining its BPA ban despite the EFSA announcement.

Last Thursday, EFSA said that it had found no convincing evidence that would lead it to change the TDI of 0.05mg/kg bodyweight after a panel of experts spent six months evaluating hundreds of studies and scientific papers on the substance. The agency rejected the validity of the findings from the Stump study - which Denmark used as the basis for their ban.

Danish ban

But the Danish Food Ministry said EFSA's opinion had not provided a robust enough endorsement of the chemical’s safety for its experts to recommend lifting the unilateral band introduced by the country in March 2010.

Denmark imposed a temporary ban on the chemical in food contact materials for children aged three and under based on an assessment of the study by Stump et al. Danish scientists said the research raised “uncertainties” over the effect the chemical on learning abilities,

After the publication of the EFSA’s updated opinion on BPA, these uncertainties still remained for Danish experts, Krestine Greve, a biochemist for the food ministry, told FoodProductionDaily.com.

“The Danish ban was temporary because we were waiting for EFSA to provide new data that would remove these uncertainties. The EFSA opinion did not do this and therefore the ban will not be lifted in the near future,” she added.

“If the Commission imposes a Europe-wide ban on BPA in food contact materials for children aged three and under, Denmark will lift its unilateral ban. If the Commission does not do this, Denmark’s ban will remain in place until such time as scientific evidence proves BPA is safe in at low doses.”

On Saturday Danish Minister of Food Henrik Høegh, who said he had the backing of the Danish Parliament, had vowed the ban would stand.

“Our ban is based on a study which, according to Danish experts, shows uncertainty about the effects of even small doses of bisphenol A on the learning ability in young rats. So I stick to the temporary Danish ban,” said the Minister.

BPA alternatives needed

France’s Secretary of State for Ecology Jouanno Chantal told French newspaper Le Figaro that the protection of infants was the reason behind the decision to uphold its BPA ban.

She stressed that alternatives to the chemical needed to be found.

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