EFSA – No consumer health risk from bisphenol A exposure

EFSA’s comprehensive re-evaluation of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure and toxicity concludes that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels. Exposure from the diet or from a combination of sources (diet, dust, cosmetics and thermal paper) is considerably under the safe level (the “tolerable daily intake” or TDI).

Although new data and refined methodologies have led EFSA’s experts to considerably reduce the safe level of BPA from 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day (µg/kg of bw/day) to 4 µg/kg of bw/day, the highest estimates for dietary exposure and for exposure from a combination of sources (called “aggregated exposure” in EFSA’s opinion) are three to five times lower than the new TDI.

Uncertainties surrounding potential health effects of BPA on the mammary gland, reproductive, metabolic, neurobehavioural and immune systems have been quantified and factored in to the calculation of the TDI. In addition, the TDI is temporary pending the outcome of a long-term study in rats, which will help to reduce these uncertainties.

You can find the full opinion and the toxicological/exposure assessments HERE.

BPA is a controversial chemical compound used in the manufacture of food contact materials such as re-usable plastic tableware and can coatings (mainly protective linings). Another widespread use of BPA is in thermal paper commonly used in till/cash register receipts. Residues of BPA can migrate into food and beverages and be ingested by the consumer; BPA from other sources including thermal paper, cosmetics and dust can be absorbed through the skin and by inhalation.

Despite the positive outcomes of many scientific opinions, BPA is banned in many countries for the use in baby bottles and in France, since 1st January 2015, is prohibited for use in all food contact materials.

A recent study is advacing he hypothesis that some substitutes of BPA could be even more dangerous than this substance.

Food recalls in EU/Week 39

This week on the RASFF database (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we have one recall from consumers in EU in the alert notifications:

Allergens: undeclared fish in canned stuffed green olives, following a consumer complaint. Origin Spain, notified by United Kingdom, distributed also to Bermuda, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Malta, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand and United Arab Emirates.

Between the alert notifications, followed by a withdrawal from the market of the product, we find:

– Foreign bodies: glass fragments in frozen ratatouille, following a consumer complaint. Origin Belgium, notified by Belgium, distributed also to Luxembourg;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Norovirus in raspberries, following food poisoning. Origin Serbia, notified from Denmark, distributed also to Germany;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella typhimurium in frozen burgers, following company’s own check. Origin Ireland, notified by Ireland, distributed also to Denmark, France, Sweden and United Kingdom;

– Pathogenic micro-organisms: Salmonella spp in chicken burgers, following company’s own check. Origin Belgium, notified by Belgium, distributed also to Netherlands;

– Residues of veterinary medicinal products: prohibited substance nitrofuran (metabolite) nitrofurazone (SEM) in frozen pangasius, following an official control on the market. Origin Vietnam, notified by Germany, distributed also to Austria and Sweden.

Amongst border rejections we have:

– live insects (worms) in dried apricots from Uzbekistan and in raisins from Turkey;

– too high content of sulphite in dried apricots from Turkey;

– shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli in chilled beef from Argentina;

– pirimiphos-methyl in chickpeas from Argentina;

– absence of health certificate(s) for white rice vinegar , rice and rice products from China;

– aflatoxins in blanched groundnuts from Brazil;

– Salmonella Weltevreden in frozen banana leaves from Thailand.

For feed, we have a border rejection for Salmonella spp in roasted guar meal 40% from India.

For food contact materials we have an alert notification, followed by a withdrawal from the market of:

– Nylon turners for migration of primary aromatic amines, following an official control on the market. Origin China (via United Kingdom and Slovakia), notified by Poland;

and a border rejection for migration of manganese and of bisphenol A and too high level of overall migration from carbon steel with non-stick coating baking trays from China.

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