The European Parliament is trying to teach a fish how to swim: when politicians play scientists

Some members of the European Parliament insist on trying to teach fish how to swim. With their amendment last week, summarised on Twitter as “Ban BPA from all food contact materials, say MEPs”, members of the European Parliament have decided that they know more about the impact of food contact materials on human health than Europe’s Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

On 6 October, members of the European Parliament considered a non-binding report on the Implementation of the European Union’s Food Contact Materials. During the debate, members of the Green group tabled an amendment to call for a ban on bisphenol-A (BPA) in all food contacts materials (FCM), and this amendment was adopted.

 

EFSA's role is to assess risks

The role of the European Food Safety Authority is to assess risks

 

This amendment is based on tenuous logic at best. The request for a general ban of Bisphenol A (BPA) in food contact materials contradicts the conclusion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) from January 2015 which concluded that there is “No consumer health risk from Bisphenol A exposure”.

The amendment challenges the idea that EFSA knows how to swim – or in this case, assess the risk of a food contact material.

EFSA’s opinion from January 2015 considered 463 different peer-reviewed scientific articles from the period 2006-2013 alone (p. 13). Furthermore, to build in a wide margin of safety, EFSA applied an overall uncertainty factor of 150  into the risk assessment. EFSA has regularly reviewed and updated its opinion since it conducted its first full risk assessment of BPA in 2006.

The European Parliament has played an important role in overseeing the development of the legislative system in Europe which works to protect us from harmful substances, and it continues to play an important role to ensure that this system is properly implemented. However, the ban on BPA in food contacts called for by MEPs in October

is misleading, as it discredits the work of Europe’s expert toxicologists and scientists, creates and exacerbates problems of trust in public agencies such as EFSA, and undermines other important legislative efforts.

0 comments on “The European Parliament is trying to teach a fish how to swim: when politicians play scientists
1 Pings/Trackbacks for "The European Parliament is trying to teach a fish how to swim: when politicians play scientists"
  1. […] the recent call from some Members of the European Parliament to ban BPA in food contact materials across Europe, today’s opinion confirms that an in-depth […]

Leave a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Prev Next

From Twitter Follow Us