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FDA Denies Petition to Ban BPA in Food and Beverage Packaging

On March 30, 2012, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was denying a petition to ban the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in food and beverage packaging. BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins that are often used in containers that store food and beverages. The resins are used to protect food by coating the inside of metal products such as food cans.

The FDA denied the petition and stated, in part, that the information provided and currently available is not sufficient to institute a ban of BPA. In addition, the FDA’s decision states that the agency will review all new evidence regarding the safety of BPA and will continue to study BPA. Also on March 30, the FDA issued a Consumer Update on the agency’s continued study of BPA.

The citizen petition, filed in October 2008 by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), requested that the FDA issue a regulation prohibiting the use of BPA in human food and packaging. The petition also sought the revocation of all regulations permitting the use of any food additive that may result in BPA becoming a component of food. In August 2011,the NRDC filed a lawsuit against the FDA in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to force the agency to respond to the petition to ban BPA. The March 30 denial came one day before the court-imposed deadline for the FDA to respond to the NRDC’s 2008 petition.

FDA spokesman Douglas Karas stated, “The FDA denied the NRDC petition because it did not have the scientific data needed for the FDA to change current regulations, which allows the use of BPA in food packaging.”

Prior to the FDA’s decision to deny the petition, some major food manufacturers had already begun to phase out the use of BPA in their food packing. The full text of the FDA’s letter to the NRDC denying the petition can be seen here.


Originally published in the ABA Section of Litigation Products Liability Committee Newsletter (April 12, 2012).



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