The CFIA tested 234 samples of domestic and imported infant formulae and foods for BPA in 2010-2011.
The samples included 127 dairy and soy infant formula samples (powdered, ready-to-serve and concentrate), 92 processed, pre-packaged fruit product samples, and 15 fruit juice samples.
Various food packaging materials were sampled, particularly those expected to have epoxy coatings, including plastic, paperboard coated with waterproof plastic, paperboard cans with metal ends, metal cans, and glass jars with metal lids. No sample tested positive for BPA.
Valuable baseline surveillance data
The survey provides valuable baseline surveillance data that could be used by Health Canada to update the estimated exposure of the Canadian population to BPA through food consumption.
Health Canada has concluded that the current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children. Other international food regulatory agencies have concurred with this.
While there is no established maximum level, tolerance or standard for BPA in foods in Canada, Health Canada has set a provisional tolerable daily intake (pTDI) for BPA of 0.025 mg/kg body weight/day.
When elevated BPA levels are detected, Health Canada may conduct an assessment to determine if the food poses a health risk. This assessment is based on the contaminant level, the expected frequency of exposure and the contribution to overall diet.
The CFIA then determines whether further action is needed, up to and including product seizure and/or recall. If a human health risk is found, a public recall notice is issued immediately.
BPA in food packaging materials is permitted in Canada. BPA is a chemical used in the production of polycarbonate and epoxy resins.
Food and beverage packaging, particularly metal cans, may be internally coated with epoxy resins to protect food from direct contact with metal.
BPA can migrate from the epoxy coatings into food, particularly at elevated temperatures (for example, in hot-filled or heat-processed canned foods).
New BPA test
Meantime, scientists have devised a new method for detecting the presence of BPA in food and packaging using modified nanogold.
The process involves tweaking the nanogold to obtain an aptamer-NG resonance Rayleigh scattering (RRS) probe (Apt-GN) for BPA.
The research, ‘A highly sensitive and selective resonance Rayleigh scattering method for Bisphenol A based on the aptamer-nanogold catalysis of HauC14-vitamin C particle reaction’, has been published online for the journal RSC Advances.
doi: 10.1039/C3RA41845F; authors: Dongmei Yao; Guiqing Wen; Zhi-Liang Jiang