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Positive Activities for Young People Team Leader, Luton Borough Council

Food Safety Consultancy

FSA oppose French proposal to ban BPA, reflecting industry concerns over consumer concerns

The principle aim of the UK Food Standard Agencies is to be trusted as their Nations most reliable source of advice and information about food. One of the key areas of these Agencies work is ensuring food safety - for example, by contributing to UK action to ensure that chemicals to do not compromise food safety.

How disappointing therefore to read in the Independent this week that the UK together with the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Spain are taking the same stance over BPA as Pro-smoker did over smoking, i.e. until we have absolute scientific proof we will continue to support the practice. The FSA has once again forgotten that it main aim is to protect the public. Instead it very much reflects industry interests.

Bisphenol A, or BPA is a common chemical which has been linked to breast cancer, heart disease, obesity and other condition. Since 2011 the European Commission has banned BPA from baby bottles, but continues to allow its use in food packaging.

Fortunately, not every EU Food Agency disregards its citizens, the French have put forward a plan to ban BPA, from food packaging by 2014, following a hazard assessment they conducted. Unfortunately the UK has told the European Commission the draft French law does not follow sound science.

This is totally the wrong approach by an Agency trying to gain public trust. To gain trust they should be agreeing that there are concerns and asking the EU to require manufacturers of BPA packaging to prove by 2014 that their product is safe.

Instead our FSA involves itself in a scientific and political dispute over this plastics hardener, which mimics the female hormone oestrogen – and is found in televisions, mobile phones, flooring, dental sealants and the plastic lining inside food and drink cans.

Peer-reviewed scientific studies have found that in animals BPA increases cell mutations associated with the development of cancer. Studies have also found that humans with high levels of the chemical have more heart disease. Links have also been made between BPA and obesity and diabetes.

Interestingly Heinz and Campbell's, two of the world's biggest food manufacturers, are publicly committed to removing BPA, because they understand about public concerns.

France's Health Minister Xavier Bertrand has backed the ban, which was proposed by Michèle Delaunay, a doctor who warned that the chemical could be behind cases of young girls prematurely developing breasts. In September last year, Ms Delaunay said: "The chemical poses other risks. It can be responsible for obesity, cardiovascular diseases and could possibly increase the risk of cancer."

The FSA is a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation or more kindly named "non-departmental public body". It was formed from MAFF, who’s inspectors in the meat industry were often criticized for being too close to primary producers and the NHS who have never given preventative medicine the focus it deserves.

Anthony Bowmer, April 2012

Why use RSA for Food Safety?

RSA Food Safety has been operating since 1997, providing food safety advice to businesses of all types and sizes, from large hotels to small coffee shops and from food manufacturers to cruise ships.  We are experienced across all sectors.  We only use fully qualified and experienced Environmental Health Practitioners and Food Safety Consultants to provide you with the best advice available.  In addition, because our services are tailored to exactly match what you require, we ensure that we are as cost-effective as possible.


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AddressRSA Environmental Health Ltd., Blotts Barn, Brooks Road,
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Telephone01933 626444