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Federal Bill Proposed to Ban BPA

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Legislation was proposed by U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), and Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and Grace Meng (D-NY), that would ban the use of food and beverage containers containing Bisphenol-A (BPA) within 180 days of enactment of the legislation. The legislators do not cite in the bill, or the accompanying press release, any data or studies that indicate that the presence of BPA in food containers poses a proven tangible health risk to consumers. The bill also requires the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to periodically review the list of substances that have been deemed safe for use in food and beverage containers to determine whether the substances may pose adverse health risks and limit the use of any substances deemed to be unsafe.

The federal bills (S 2572 and HR 5033) would allow manufacturers to request a one-year waiver to continue to use BPA if they are unable to find a replacement material.  To obtain the waiver, proof must be provided that it is not technically feasible to replace BPA.  In addition, during the waiver period the products will have to be labeled with a statement that BPA was used in the packaging and that it can have adverse health impacts.  This would make it very difficult for food companies to manage packaging and labeling inventories, and potentially subject them to litigation.  The legislation would also allow states to enact more strict standards regarding the use of BPA.

If enacted, this legislation would adversely affect a wide range of food and beverage processors and could subject BPA, and potential replacements for BPA, to an additional patchwork of state and local restrictions. 

CLFP staff will be closely monitoring this bill and will report any future developments.

Article written by Rob Neenan, President/CEO, California League of Food Processors

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