December 14, 2012
PARIS (Dec. 14, 11:30 a.m. ET) — A law that bans the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food packaging has passed its final stage in the French Senate and is set to be implemented next year for packaging for children under the age of three and for all food packaging in France in 2015.
Brussels-based trade body PlasticsEurope said in a statement: “Industry is deeply disappointed to see the French government not respecting the existing EU rules for food safety, and will be considering all options as reaction to this decision. The French decision may result in a reduction, and not an enhancement, of French consumer safety, and will create a significant distortion of the internal and international market for food contact goods in the EU.”
It said that the French government must now to notify the planned law to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Sanitary or Phytosanitary Measures (SPS).
“This process allows other countries to assess and respond to the intended ban within a period of 60 days. During that time, the law is not allowed to be promulgated in France. Industry is of the opinion that the law is likely to be incompatible with WTO SPS rules which are based on scientific principles.”
France’s National Assembly has asked the government to submit a report evaluating possible alternatives to BPA with respect to their potential toxicity before July 1, 2014, six months before the outright ban takes effect. PlasticsEurope said it was “astonishing that France invites the use of potential alternatives for products for small children as soon as possible, while in the same law it requests a report on the potential toxicity of alternatives only by July 2014 – this would mean a specially vulnerable part of the population could be exposed to products with an unknown toxicity profile during that period.”
PlasticsEurope is urging companies to contact the European Commission and WTO to raise concern about the “potentially harmful implications of the French law.”