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French Ban on BPA Upheld by Court Only for Food-Contact Materials and Articles Imported into France or Placed on the Market in France

The French Constitutional Court has upheld the legality of the bisphenol A (BPA) ban (law no. 2010-729, as amended by law n° 2012-1442 of 24 December 2012) for products subject to this ban that imported into France or placed on the market in France (Decision no. 2015-480 QPC of Sept. 17, 2015). However, the court ruled that the ban on the manufacture of food-contact materials containing BPA in France for export is unconstitutional since food-contact materials containing BPA may lawfully be placed on the market in other countries. This ruling took effect immediately.

More specifically, the judgment outlines that the words "manufacture" and "export" in the first paragraph of the first article of law no. 2010-729, as amended, are unconstitutional. The first paragraph suspends the manufacture, import, export, and placing on the market of all food packaging, containers, or utensils, intended to come into direct contact with food for infants and young children and containing BPA, effective Jan. 1, 2013. The second paragraph expands the ban to all packaging, containers or utensils intended to come into direct contact with food that contains BPA, effective Jan. 1, 2015. The second paragraph cross-references the first paragraph, such that the findings of the Court are valid with respect to both paragraphs.

The French Constitutional Court stated that it did not have the expertise to question the basis of the ban on BPA, which currently applies to the import and placing on the French market of packaging, containers or utensils containing BPA intended to come into direct contact with food, subject to the very limited exceptions set out in the guidance document of the French enforcement authority (the DGCCRF) dated December 8, 2014 on the application of the BPA law ("Mise en oeuvre de la Loi bisphénol A (BPA)").