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Bonduelle and Unilever facing potential fines in France for BPA violations

Bonduelle and Unilever facing potential fines in France for BPA violations Bonduelle, Unilever Food and Beverage Business

The French investigative news agency L’informé has reported that Bonduelle and Unilever are facing potential fines in France for allegedly hiding the continued use of bisphenol A (BPA) in packaging. The fines from France’s competition watchdog, L’Autorité de la Concurrence, could amount to €20m ($21.8m), according to findings from L’informé. The official decision on the investigation is expected to be announced “in the next few days”.

In 2021, the competition watchdog announced an investigation into claims that 14 “professional organisations” and 101 companies in France had “agreed not to communicate on the presence or on the composition of certain materials in contact with food, to the detriment of consumers”. The identities of the companies and professional associations involved were not revealed at the time. However, Bonduelle acknowledged its involvement in its annual report for 2022-2023, indicating that it had presented its observations but had not yet received feedback on its comments.

Unilever and the French National Association of Food Industries (ANIA) have also been suggested as potential offenders, according to L’informé’s latest report. Both companies as well as Bonduelle were contacted by Just Food for comment, but have not yet responded.

Nestlé confirmed in 2021 that some of its subsidiaries in France had received a statement of objections related to “communication on the removal of BPA from metal packaging in France.” The use of BPA in all food packaging, containers, and utensils has been illegal in France since 2015. In the EU, the substance can still be used in materials that come into contact with food. However, a proposed EU initiative aims to ban the use of BPA in “food contact materials” such as “plastic and coated packaging”.

A report released by the European Environment Agency (EEA) revealed that BPA was “well above acceptable health levels” and raised concerns about the exposure to unhealthy amounts of the chemical in 11 EU countries. Food and drink producers have committed to fully comply with any new regulations, but have requested that measures be “fair, realistic, proportionate and based on the full body of evidence.”

The latest reports and investigations in France and the proposed EU regulations demonstrate the evolving landscape of food and beverage industry trends, consumer safety, and business practices. Companies involved in the food and drink business should stay informed and be proactive in addressing regulatory changes.

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