FDA responds to Science Board’s BPA review
This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet
The agency is formulating a response to its Science Board's review of FDA's draft assessment of bisphenol A's safety in food contact applications. Associate Commissioner for Science Norris Alderson initially replied to the board in a December 2008 letter, agreeing that FDA should focus on BPA applications that might impact infants, including formula packaging (1"The Tan Sheet" Jan. 5, 2009, In Brief). According to a Feb. 9 release, FDA and Health Canada officials held a forum Jan. 30 with manufacturers from both countries to discuss ongoing BPA reduction efforts. FDA says an international regulatory consensus holds that BPA exposure through food packages does not pose a risk to the general population, but the agency continues to review research on the potential low-dose effects of BPA
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Infant formula manufacturers are testing product samples on an ongoing basis to minimize bisphenol A in food contact applications and identify safe levels of the chemical. The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition is analyzing several infant formula brands with an updated testing method, Mitchell Cheeseman, deputy director of the Office of Food Additive Safety, said at an FDA Science Board meeting Feb. 24 in Gaithersburg, Md. Recent testing of 57 samples found a range of 0.02 to 10.55 µg of BPA per kg of infant formula, which Cheeseman calls "comparable to the existing data" on formula products. He added that FDA encourages industry to follow a voluntary "code of practice" - essentially good manufacturing practices for producing and filling infant formula cans - "to minimize BPA migration from existing packaging materials into" the product. The presentation was part of an ongoing dialog about BPA's safety in food contact applications (1"The Tan Sheet" Feb. 16, 2009, In Brief)
Norris Alderson, FDA's associate commissioner for science, says in a Dec. 3 letter the agency and its Science Board agree that the draft assessment of bisphenol A use should focus on "dietary sources relevant to infants," including exposure from epoxy used in formula packaging. The letter, addressed to Barbara McNeil of the Science Board and Harvard Medical School, says that the board's peer review report recommends additional work relating to BPA exposure, health effects and proposed research. Alderson adds that FDA will work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other parties to develop additional biomonitoring data for infants and exposure assessments for infant formula packaging. The agency previously was criticized for suggesting that low levels of BPA transferred from food packaging are safe in children (1"The Tan Sheet" Nov. 10, 2008, In Brief)
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