Bisphenol A: 15 agri-food players sanctioned for conspiracy by the Competition Authority

These practices are considered “very serious” by the Authority in its press release on Thursday “because they deprived consumers of the ability to choose products without bisphenol A, at a time when such products were available and when this substance was already , at the time, considered dangerous for health.

Banned in France since 2015 in food containers, bisphenol A is considered by the National Food Safety Agency (ANSES) as an endocrine disruptor and is suspected of being linked to multiple disorders and diseases (heart cancer). breast, infertility, etc.).

A lack of communication on the molecule

The Competition Authority indicates that it has decided to sanction three professional canning organizations (Fiac, Adepale, Ania) and the can manufacturers’ union (SNFBM) “for having implemented a collective strategy aimed at preventing manufacturers in the sector from compete on the question of the presence or absence of bisphenol A in food containers (cans, cans, etc.)”.

“The collective strategy concerning communication on the absence of Bisphenol A (BPA) was initiated by the professional organizations of canners. These then sought the support of the entire value chain”, details the Authority. “These practices, together, constitute a single, complex and continuous offense (IUCC) implemented from October 6, 2010 to July 21, 2015, i.e. over more than four years,” it is specified.

“Disproportionate measure”

The objective of the agreement was to “prevent manufacturers from communicating about the absence of BPA in their food containers” and to “encourage manufacturers to refuse to deliver boxes without Bisphenol A before its ban in France, then to stop marketing canned foods with Bisphenol A after this date,” the press release continues.

Contacted by AFP, the Association of Processed Food Products Companies (Adepale) and the Federation of Preserved Food Industries (Fiac) indicated that they were going to appeal a decision that they “firmly contest”. affirming that “all the actors concerned acted in full respect of the framework and objectives set by law”.

On Wednesday, at the microphone of Radio Classique, the president of the National Association of Food Industries (Ania) Jean-Philippe André spoke of the upcoming sanction and indicated “to contest this measure”, qualifying it in advance as “disproportionate and unfair”.

Sanctions amounting to 19.55 million euros

“It dates back to the years 2012-2015, so it’s very long ago. Ania simply agreed together with its members on how I manage communication on ‘without’ (Bisphenol, editor’s note). We are in our role “Our job here is to ensure that our products contribute to the image of the agri-food industry in France, to the high quality of the products. We will not stop doing that. We will challenge all of that.” he declared.

Also sanctioned by the Competition Authority are “eleven companies, prosecuted as members of these organizations” and for their “participation in the cartel”. These are the “canners” Andros, Bonduelle, Charles et Alice, Cofigeo, Conserves France, D’Aucy, General Mills, and Unilever, as well as the “box suppliers” Ardagh, Crown and Massilly.

The four professional organizations concerned as well as the eleven companies are sanctioned for a total amount of 19.55 million euros. The most significant sanctions concern Crown (4.2 million euros), D’Aucy (3.08 million), Bonduelle (2.8), Ania (2.7), Ardagh (1.6), Massily (1.5) and Unilever (1.3). The Authority also indicates that “the extension of this strategy downstream to mass distribution has also been attempted, but without success”.

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