The BPA debate

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is due to make a statement about Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that is used in the lining of some food and drinks cans, on Saturday (31 March).

Some companies have already made the decision to move towards packaging their products in BPA-free cans. While some can manufacturers will view this as a worrying trend I don’t think there is any need to press the panic button just yet.

Let me try and back this up. A number of studies have shown that once ingested, BPA is efficiently broken down within the digestive system and excreted via urine.

Drinks giant Coca-Cola has no concerns about the safety of BPA. In fact the company outlines its own position very clearly on its website.

It states: “All of our products, regardless of the type of packaging used, are safe. Independent scientists have thoroughly reviewed the data and have assured us that our beverage cans pose no public health risk. Our own scientists have also reviewed the data and are confident about our packaging safety. In addition, the scientific body of evidence has been reviewed independently by several government regulators throughout the world. These regulators have repeatedly stated that current levels of exposure to Bisphenol A through beverage packaging pose no health risk to the general population, including children. Aluminium can liners that use BPA are the industry standard and have been used safely for more than 50 years. In fact, they have improved food and beverage safety by providing protection against food-borne diseases.”

The metal packaging industry itself has maintained a dignified silence on the subject and has left it to others to debate. While radio silence can sometimes be a good thing I don’t think it would do any harm for more people in the industry to come out and express an opinion. There’s an old saying: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Maybe now is the time to get this message across more strongly.

The North American Metal Packaging Alliance (NAMPA) says: “There is no readily available alternative to BPA on the market today that is approved by regulators and provides the same high degree of safety and performance for the broadest range of canned food products.”

Finding alternatives could take years. And at the end of the day is there really any need?

What do you think? Have your say below?

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