SAFEGUARDS | Hardlines NO. 025/16

SafeGuardS baby with milk bottle

After defining acceptable limits of Bisphenol A (BPA) in paper and board by an announcement in early December 2014 manufacturers and trade still await a respective definition for polymers. SGS investigated in official interpretations and would like to share further information.

SGS informed you about the acceptable limits of BPA in paper and board [1] in an earlier publication in 2015. So far a similar announcement to further clarify the acceptable limits in polymer type food contact materials (FCM) has not been published by the French Direction Générale de la Concurrence (DGCCRF) since the ban of BPA in all food contact products [2] in 2012. However, there is an urgent need of industry and trade to better understand whether any residual amounts of unintentionally added BPA would be acceptable under the current prohibition and application of good manufacturing practice (GMP).

SGS strongly involves in technical developments and cooperation with local authorities in order to share experience and reflect testing expertise and consultation with various actors along the supply chain.

As part of this exchange, following various personal consultations SGS has had with the DGCCRF and respective laboratories working group, a mutual agreement has been achieved regarding the analysis of the BPA content and subsequent data interpretation with respect to the French Act No. 2012-1442.

The intention of DGCCRF is to focus its controls on food contact materials and articles with an intentional use of BPA. In a common sense the intentional use may be understood as the deliberate or knowing addition of BPA or BPA containing raw materials, even BPA formed as a reaction product, during the FCM manufacturing process. The unintentional presence of BPA will not result in non-compliance. The application of GMP to master the presence of BPA is recommended especially for recycled materials, to demonstrate the unintended use of BPA in the event of a positive result (detected value exceeding analytical limits of quantification (LOQ) of 0.1 mg/kg in polymer materials, resins, paints etc.).

However, it is noteworthy that, while an amount of 0.1 mg/kg BPA would be understood as over the threshold of presence, it is the intentional use which is, strictly speaking, understood as the tested item not being in line with the requirement of the French Act No. 2012-1442.

In case a positive value (> 0.1 mg/kg) is detected, which could indicate an intentional BPA use, authorities would expect to find a warning in the analysis report to inform the supply chain of the potential risk. Subsequently the manufacturer would be required to perform a risk assessment in order to demonstrate BPA was not added intentionality during the manufacturing process.

The implementation of the law is further explained on the DGCCRF website [3]. Currently there is only a harmonized test method for paper and cardboard. For other materials, laboratories can use an internal test method validated at least as severe as those of the laboratories of the DGCCRF.

SGS technical experts have extensive knowledge and testing experience in materials and articles in contact with food. They work to ensure that your products meet the appropriate regulations for food contact materials and pave the way for compliance. From overall migration test to expert advices on emerging regulations and compliance issues and documentation review, SGS is the partner to trust. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or visit our website.

For enquiries, please contact:

Pascale Lambert
Global Expert, Chemical E&E and Food Contact
t: +33 (0)2 35 07 92 66

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