Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has published the results of its Total Diet Study (TDA), an analysis of 147 foods and beverages representative of the normal Irish diet. And yes, the study did include beer.
But beyond those low-carbonated, lukewarm stouts and lagers which famously take on a shade of green this time of year, the FSAI also published results on a range of other chemistries, including various metals, essential nutrients, food additives, food contaminants, and pesticide residues.
Here’s the biggest takeaway from the FSAI analysis: “[o]verall, the results show that the Irish population is generally not at risk from the chemical contaminants analysed in the diet.”
“Exposure to BPA is of low concern”
Bisphenol A (BPA), a building-block chemical primarily used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins that enable a variety of consumer products, was included in FSAI report. Epoxy resins are commonly used as protective coatings for food and beverage cans is is generally considered the primary source of human exposure to BPA is the diet.
According to FSAI, BPA was detected at low levels in only 30 percent of the samples analyzed. The study then combined the levels found in food with food consumption data to estimate total dietary intake of BPA for both average and above average consumers. Comparison of these values with the most stringent health-based guidance value for BPA in Europe led to the conclusion that “exposure to BPA is of low concern.”
Keep in mind, the FSAI takes its job very seriously. They have the statutory responsibility in Ireland to “ensure the safety of food consumed, distributed, and produced and sold on the Irish market.” As part of this responsibility, FSAI periodically carries out a TDS to “measure the dietary exposure of the population to particular chemicals that may pose a risk to health if taken into the body in excessive amounts.”
When an organization such as the FSAI says exposure to BPA is of low concern – they mean it.
What’s more, the results and conclusion of the FSAI study are consistent with recent findings from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). As noted by FSAI, EFSA concluded in January 2015 that “BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels.”
Along with FSAI and EFSA, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a similar perspective on the safety of BPA. It answers the question “Is BPA safe?” with a single unambiguous word: “Yes.”
So, yes, you can feel free to enjoy your favorite Irish foods (and beer) this St. Patrick’s Day with no concerns about BPA!