Questions & Answers on Bisphenol A (BPA) Use in Food Contact Applications

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FDA acknowledges the interest that many consumers have in BPA. FDA has performed extensive research and reviewed hundreds of studies about BPA’s safety. We reassure consumers that current approved uses of BPA in food containers and packaging are safe. Additional research is underway to enhance our understanding of BPA. FDA will take these studies into account as it continues to ensure the safe use of BPA in food packaging.

What is BPA?

resin code of 7Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical component present in polycarbonate plastic used in the manufacture of certain beverage containers and most food can liners. BPA-based plastic bottles are clear and tough. In cans, BPA-based liners form a barrier between the food and the can surface that prevents corrosion of the can and migration of metal into the food.

Consumers may use the resin code appearing on plastic containers as a guide to the possible presence of BPA. A resin code of 7 indicates that the container may be made of a BPA-containing plastic.  

How does FDA regulate BPA?

The agency regulates all food packaging materials from which components can reasonably be expected to migrate into a food. The original authorizations for food contact uses of BPA were issued under FDA’s food additive regulations. In general, FDA now reviews food contact substances under a notification process, which is manufacturer specific. For all food contact materials, there must be sufficient scientific information to demonstrate that the use of the substances is safe.

How does FDA evaluate the safety of food contact substances?

FDA’s safety evaluations focus on three factors. These include the cumulative exposure to food contact substances that migrate into foods and beverages, the identity of the packaging components, and the safe levels of exposure.

Is BPA safe?

Yes. Based on FDA’s ongoing safety review of scientific evidence, the available information continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging. People are exposed to low levels of BPA because, like many packaging components, very small amounts of BPA may migrate from the food packaging into foods or beverages.

Page Last Updated: 03/09/2015
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