The U.S. state of California has delayed implementation of regulations that would require food retailers to display warnings on food packaging products containing the chemical bisphenol A (BPA).
BPA is commonly used in the linings of certain metal cans and lids of glass bottles used for packaging food and beverages. According to the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), exposure to BPA has been linked to toxic effects in women’s reproductive systems. As a result, BPA was added to California’s Proposition 65 list of approximately 800 chemicals, requiring businesses to include notices regarding the presence of BPA in food packaging materials as of May 11, 2016.
However, the OEHHA has determined that, in this instance, the implementation of the notice requirement could deter shoppers from purchasing canned fruits and vegetables. Because fresh fruit and vegetables are often not as readily available in stores located in economically challenged city neighbourhoods, the OEHHA reasoned that the notice requirement could adversely impact low-income families, and leave them with fewer food choice options.
As an alternative to the notice requirement, grocery stores and retail food outlets in California will be required to post general warnings at check-out counters and registers regarding the potential dangers of BPA, and that containers used with some food and beverage products may contain the chemical.
California’s Proposition 65 notice requirements regarding the presence of potentially harmful chemicals are among the most strict in the world, and even more rigorous than those required in other U.S. states or under rules of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).