OEHHA Adopts Revised Temporary Regulations for BPA Warnings in Food & Beverage Packaging

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) recently adopted revised regulations providing safe harbor warnings for food and beverage product packaging containing BPA. These new regulations, which take effect January 1, 2017, are slightly different from the emergency regulations adopted earlier in April, which expire December 31, 2016.

The new Prop 65 regulations continue to provide manufacturers, packagers, producers, importers and distributors (collectively referred to here as “producers”) with two compliance options: product label warnings and point of sale warnings.

Point of Sale BPA Warnings

To utilize the point of sale warnings, producers must submit product information both to retailers (either directly or through an agent or trade organization) and OEHHA. If BPA use in packaging has been discontinued, the “use by” date of the last product in BPA packaging must also be provided to OEHHA.  The information should be uploaded to OEHHA’s website before December 30, 2016 to ensure the process is completed by January 1, 2017.

The information provided to OEHHA, which was not required by the April regulations, will be posted in searchable form for consumers on the agency’s website through December, 2017. At that time, the regulation for this point-of-sale warning method will expire.  OEHHA’s rationale for the website posting as well as the temporary nature of this compliance option, is to provide an incentive to industry to move away from the use of BPA.

The safe harbor warning language for point of sale warnings is:

“WARNING: Many food and beverage cans have lining containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to the State of California to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers.  For more information go to: www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/BPA.”

After December 31, 2017, the standard Prop 65 regulations will apply. (New Clear and Reasonable Warning regulations were also adopted recently, and can be implemented before their effective date, August 30, 2018.) Companies should review all the regulations so they can be in compliance during each of the regulatory phases.