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Numerous trade associations, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), have created a database for food and beverage companies to list products whose packaging may contain bisphenol A (BPA) as required under a new California regulation that goes into effect May 11. Other partners in the database include the American Beverage Association, American Herbal Products Association, Beer Institute, Brewers Association, California Beer and Beverage Distributors, California Craft Brewers Associaion, California League of Food Processors, Can Manufacturers Institute, Distilled Spirits of the United States, National Alcohol Beverage Importers Inc., Presidents' Forum of the Beverage Alcohol Industry, Shelf-Stable Food Processors Association, Wine Institute, and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of California Inc.,
California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) implemented an emergency regulation on April 18 that allows manufacturers to provide in-store warning signs to retailers about exposure to BPA from products sold in the state. This program provides an option for industry to work together to provide warnings in stores, instead of removing products from store shelves or changing the labels of food and beverage products that use BPA in their packaging or may otherwise expose consumers to BPA.
Under the California regulation, manufacturers must provide warning signs to retail outlets, at no cost to the retailer. The group of trade associations has established an online store, where retailers can order the signs and have them shipped free of charge. In addition, a public database provides both retailers and consumers with an easy way of identifying which products the warning signs apply to.
While many companies have switched to other can liners, due to the ubiquitous nature of BPA in the environment, even those replacement packaging options may not eliminate trace amounts of BPA. Because OEHHA did not establish any allowable-dose level of BPA, even products with packaging that does not intentionally include BPA and may only test for trace amounts are included in the listing.
California’s Proposition 65 requires the annual publication of a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, and information must be made available to consumers about products that may contain listed substances. BPA is one of the products included in Proposition 65 and this regulation.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s advice to consumers is that food and beverages in packages using BPA as a food safety barrier are safe and that packaging that may contain trace amounts of BPA is safe for use with food.