Health Canada reaffirms safety of BPA use

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Announcement by Health Canada regarding completion of its assessment of bisphenol A (BPA) offers reassurance to Canadians that the use of this chemical in the production of epoxy resins in metal food and beverage packaging presents no risk to consumers.

In issuing its decision, Health Canada released several proposed “risk management measures” as required elements of Canada’s regulatory process, or Chemicals Management Plan, for BPA.

Among the steps to be taken is the Canadian government’s application of the ALARA principle, or “as low as reasonably achievable” levels, of BPA in infant formula products for newborns and children up to 18 months.

While Health Canada clearly acknowledged that exposure to BPA among infants and young children currently is below levels found to show adverse effects in appropriate animal testing, its action was based on a desire to enhance the protection already afforded to this population group.

“We certainly understand the Canadian government’s desire to be prudent when it comes to the safety of infants and toddlers. The levels of BPA found in infant formula are already significantly lower than the safe level designated by the European Food Safety Authority, which has the lowest regulated limit in the world and has recently reaffirmed the safety of this application,” said Dr. John M. Rost, Chairman of the North American Metal Packaging Alliance, Inc. (NAMPA). “NAMPA is committed to working cooperatively with Health Canada further to reduce migration levels wherever technology permits. Our number one priority is to ensure that the foods delivered in metal packaging are safe.”

Health Canada also announced that it is continuing its efforts to work cooperatively with industry to develop a Code of Practice to evaluate infant formula and ensure the highest standards of protection for this use. NAMPA, along with manufacturers of canned infant formula, has been working cooperatively with the Canadian government since it began its review of BPA in April. Those efforts have focused on reevaluating the already exceedingly low levels of BPA to ensure that they represent the lowest achievable levels. NAMPA has been an active participant in this process from the start as it is consistent with its members’ commitment to the highest standards of product health and safety.

NAMPA is encouraged by Heath Canada’s assessment of the safety of metal packaging for food and beverages. Health Canada is well aware of the critical importance of epoxy coatings in protecting the food supply in Canada. We are gratified that following the Canadian assessment of BPA, government officials have reached the same conclusion as the United States Food and Drug Administration, the European Food Safety Authority, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, among others, that BPA-based epoxy coatings are safe to use in contact with food and beverages.

Source: North American Metal Packaging Alliance, USA

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