Food Industry Threatens to Kill Food Safety Bill if BPA Restrictions Included

For Immediate Release

Breast Cancer Fund
Contact: 

Shannon Coughlin, 415-336-2246, scoughlin@breastcancerfund.org;
Bill Walker, (510) 759-9911, bw.deadline@gmail.com

Food Industry Threatens to Kill Food Safety Bill if BPA Restrictions Included

Four Senators at Center of Debate Over Toxic Plastics Chemical

WASHINGTON - As the
Senate
prepares to take up a massive food safety reform bill, the food industry
is
threatening to kill the bill if it includes restrictions on toxic
bisphenol A
in food packaging and containers. The decision is in the hands of four
senators
who must choose between appeasing special-interest industry demands and
responding to growing scientific and consumer concern about the serious
negative health effects associated with BPA exposure.

The Senate
health committee is
considering incorporating into the Food Safety Modernization Act some
version
of legislation sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that seeks
to ban
BPA from all food and beverage containers regulated by the Food and Drug
Administration. The key committee members chairman Tom Harkin of Iowa,
ranking
majority member Chris Dodd of Connecticut, and ranking Republican
members Mike
Enzi of Wyoming and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.

In a story
published Monday in
The Washington Post (http://bit.ly/cDD1Hr),
Feinstein
said: “I feel very strongly that the government should protect
people from harmful chemicals. BPA should be addressed as a part of the
food
safety overhaul.” Earlier, she told Politico that if her legislation is
not added to the bill before it goes to the floor, she would offer some
form of
her proposal as a floor amendment.

The Post
also reported that the
Grocery Manufacturers Association and other business groups, including
the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce, have told Harkin and Enzi that they will not
support the
food safety bill if it includes BPA restrictions. Janet Nudelman, policy
director for the Breast Cancer Fund, called the threat “irresponsible
and
obstructionist.”

“The Senate
has a critical
question before it: At the end of the day who are they accountable to
—an
industry that is fighting science and consumer demand, or infants, kids
and
pregnant women who need to be protected from this toxic chemical?” said
Nudelman.

Kristin
Rowe-Finkbeiner,
executive director of MomsRising, a national network of more than 1
million
moms, agreed. “The food industry’s threat to block the food safety
bill if it contains a provision to more strictly regulate BPA shows a
disregard
for protecting the health and safety of its own customers,” said
Rowe-Finkbeiner.

Nudelman
pointed to the enormous
body of evidence illustrating BPA’s harm.

“Food-based
exposures to
BPA have been restricted in five states and 13 more are considering
doing the same,”
she said. Consumers are demanding BPA-free products, and manufacturers
and
retailers are responding. Everyone, regardless of where they shop or
what state
they live in, should have access to BPA-free food products. Only
Congress can
ensure that.”

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