FSA defends BPA cans after Campbell’s Soup ban

By Freddie Dawson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food standards agency, Cancer

Not in the soup: Campbell's is to phase out the use of controversial chemical BPA in all its cans
Not in the soup: Campbell's is to phase out the use of controversial chemical BPA in all its cans
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has defended the controversial chemical  bisphenol A (BPA) after Campbell’s Soup pledged to phase out its use in all cans due to consumers' safety concerns.

The chemical, used in can linings and packaging, has been linked to a range of health disorders including breast and prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty in girls, type-2 diabetes, obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Campbell’s, which manufactures dried soups in the UK, has already started to use alternatives to BPA in some soup packaging. The firm is working to phase out the use of BPA in the lining of all its canned products.

But the US soup and sauce manufacturer stressed that it believed BPA was safe. It did not expect the decision to result in significant cost increases.

No risk to consumers

An FSA spokeswoman told FoodManufacture.co.uk that: “Our current advice is that BPA from food contact materials does not represent a risk to consumers. But the FSA will look at any new piece of work to see if it has any implications for our advice to consumers.”

She added: “The FSA bases its advice on the body of scientific evidence and the opinion of independent scientists.”

The FSA planned to review its policy on BPA after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a new opinion on the chemical later this year.

An EFSA spokeswoman said that if its review showed a significant risk from BPA contamination, the authority would act immediately to propose a ban on its use in packaging and labels. If not, individual Member States should determine whether a ban was necessary, she said.

But US health campaigners Breast Cancer Fund (BCF) and Healthy Child Healthy World (HCHW) welcomed Campbell’s decision.

Gretchen Lee Salter, BCF policy manager, said: “Campbell’s decision to move away from BPA is a victory for consumers, who have been demanding this change. To truly be an industry leader, the company now needs to fully disclose the timeline for the phase-out and the alternatives that will be used.”

Toxic chemicals

Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, HCHW executive director, said: “Parents want to be sure when they serve Campbell’s Soup to their kids that it is free of toxic chemicals that contribute to disease. I commend Campbell’s for taking this first step—as well as the concerned parents and consumers who made their voices heard in the boardroom and at the checkout counter.”

Meanwhile, international label manufacturer, Bizerba has changed processes at its factories to eliminate the need for BPA.

Marc Büttgenbach, the firm’s sales director for labels and consumables, said: “We are certain that the printing inks used to make our labels are harmless. Thus we are clearly positioning ourselves at the forefront of the market.”

But he added: “Till operators that have an above-average level of contact with labels and thermal till rolls [formerly containing BPA] can breathe a sigh of relief.”

FoodManufacture.co.uk's sister website FoodProductionDaily.com reported on March 8 that Campbell's planned to phase out BPA in all food cans by 2015.

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1 comment

BPA a cautious approach.

Posted by Kevin Sorensen,

This decision by Campbells must be welcomed. Any cautious approach toward dubious chemicals is a good move. However there are comments in this article that are simply a smoke screen. I take issue with Marc Buttgenbach's comment about printing inks because there is a functional barrier between a can label and the contents – it is called a metal can!
BPA can be used in the chemical make-up of the resins used in the inside liner of the can. In this instance there is direct food contact. The most sensitive area where BPA is used is in the synthesis of polycarbonate that is used to form a baby's milk bottle. An adult is less at risk but as I first stated let's err on the side of caution

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