As you may have read, the European Commission is planning to strengthen the regulation on the presence of Bisphenol A in food contact materials.
Where does this decision come from?
In its January 2015 opinion the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommended a drastic reduction in Tolerated Daily Intake (TDI) for BPA. Based on this recommendation, the draft regulation under consideration proposes a new Specific Migration Limit (SML); this means that this measure will impose a significant reduction in the presence of BPA in materials in contact with food.
TDI, SML – what do they stand for?
The TDI is a safety threshold aimed at ensuring consumer protection: it is the maximum amount of BPA to which any individual can be exposed every day of his/her life, through all possible sources, without any risk to his/her health. The TDI is expressed in micrograms of BPA ingested per kilo of body weight per day. As expected, these margins are extremely strict.
The current TDI for BPA was established in January 2015 by EFSA at a threshold of 4 micrograms per kg/day. Its threshold is 12.5 times smaller than the previous TDI of 50 micrograms per kg/day.
The SML, on the other hand, is the residual BPA migration standard in food through food contact materials. It is derived from the TDI, and is calculated in micrograms of BPA per kilogram of food. It is true that one of the main ways to get exposed to BPA is through food. The SML is an essential tool in order to make sure the TDI is respected for all consumers, including categories considered “at risk” (pregnant women and infants in particular).
The Commission’s new proposal suggests a migration limit of 5 micrograms per kilogram of food. 12 times less than the 60 micrograms per kilogram of food previously applied.
Just to clarify – The safety level is actually high:
In order to exceed the TDI recommended by the European authorities, someone would have to would eat daily:
12 kilos of canned vegetables + 3.5 kilos of prepared meals + 88 liters of beverage cans
That’s indeed a lot!
A solid basis for consumer protection
On our side, we’d like to commend the European authorities on their proposal because:
- the project is based on a proven scientific approach (a risk analysis conducted by EFSA); this guarantees a reliable regulation
- it maintains the European market’s unity and should prevent the unilateral and disorderly adoption of measures by Member States
- it integrates high safety margins, which will ensure a high degree of consumer protection
In spite of those high safety limits, let’s not indulge in huge amounts of food that could bring us close to the TDI… and most probably obesity! Everything is about moderation after all!