This has been going around the twittering world (in my twittering world anyway) which led to various outraged comments and further cynicism from various environmental/health advocates on bisphenol- A’s (BPA) supposed safety as according to BPA manufacturers and the Food and Drug Administration.
A private meeting held on May 28 at a Washington, DC social club (The Cosmos Club) by members of the North American Metal Packaging Alliance (NAMPA) regarding BPA was leaked by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on May 29.
According to the memo supposedly obtained by the Sentinel, the meeting’s goal was to develop potential communication/media strategies around BPA (there goes the communication strategy out of the window!).
Attending companies include Coca-Cola, Alcoa, Crown, North American Metal Packaging Alliance, Inc., Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), American Chemistry Council (ACC), and Del Monte.
Unfortunately, the memo also include stated objectives such as:
- Attendees suggested using fear tactics (e.g. “Do you want to have access to baby food anymore?”) as well as giving control back to consumers (e.g. you have a choice between the more expensive product that is frozen or fresh or foods packaged in cans) as ways to dissuade people from choosing BPA-free packaging.”
- Finding their “holy grail” spokesperson who would be a “pregnant young mother who would be willing to speak around the country about the benefits of BPA.”
- Focusing on more legislative battles and befriending people that are able to manipulate the legislative process. They believe a grassroots and legislative approach is favorable because the legislators worry about how the moms will react.
The memo also states that the NAMPA committee will spend approximately$500,000 to develop a survey on consumer BPA perceptions and messagingand eventually content and outreach materials.
NAMPA released a counter statement on May 30 saying that they did have a meeting on May 28 but the memo was fabricated and blatantly inaccurate.
“TheJournal’s attempt to pass off this illegitimate memo from anunidentified source as proof that industry is trying to manipulate theprocess is shoddy journalism at best and a breach of journalisticethics at worst.”
NAMPA said BPA manufacturers and consumers areperplexed about why the media, including the Journal, ignorecomprehensive risk assessment studies that support the safety of BPA asused in this packaging.
“Unfortunately, the one-sided reporting so commonplace in the media has left
consumers to conclude that rather than preventing health impacts, theepoxy liner itself causes problems because it contains infinitesimalamounts of BPA.”
NAMPA’sfrustration about BPA is clearly shown in their statement as theyreiterated their position of defending their industry and theirscientific process that concluded BPA is safe to use in food contactapplications.
“Should it be viewed as ascandal that the accumulated frustration of the industry leads toconsideration of alternative means of communication?”