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France Releases Guidance on BPA Ban and Food-Contact Legislation

The French government has released two guidance documents on food-contact legislation. The first document, published by the French enforcement authority Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF), provides clarification on the enforcement of France's ban on bisphenol A (BPA), Law No. 2010-729, as amended by law No. 2012-1442 of December 24, 2012.

The BPA ban contains two phases of adoption. Phase I of the law, effective January 1, 2013, banned BPA in all food packaging, containers, and utensils intended for use by children up to 3 years of age. The second phase, which will become effective on January 1, 2015, will ban BPA in all packaging, containers, and utensils intended to be used in direct contact with food. While the prohibition on the use of BPA in food packaging and containers does not contain an exhaustion of stocks clause, DGCCRF explained in its guidance that one will be applied, in practice, such that if packaging, containers, or utensils were first made available on the French market before January 1, 2015, they may continue to be used after this time until such stocks are exhausted. The guidance provides evidence of what would constitute sufficient proof of being made "available on the French market" for purposes of the exhaustion of stocks clause. More information is available (in French) on the government's website.

The second guidance document (Information Note No. 2014-108), also published by DGCCRF, outlines the general rules applicable to food-contact materials in France. It includes explanations on the European Union's overarching food-contact legislation (i.e., the EU Framework Regulation (EC) 1934/2004 and the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Regulation (EC) 2023/2006), as well on French legislation in non-harmonized areas. In the guidance, DGCCRF provides examples of substances that it considers to be food-contact materials under the Framework Regulation, as well as examples of materials that are not, under their normal and foreseeable conditions of use, reasonably expected to come into contact with food. The DGCCRF also recommends in this general guidance that analytical test reports should be valid for periods of no more than five years. The document was released (in French) on July 21, 2014.