BPA labeling regulation on water gallons “Prejudicial and a violation of public interest”

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Prof. Dr. Ir. Ahmad Sulaeman, MS, and Ir. Akhmad Zainal Abidin, MSc., Ph.D
Prof. Dr. Ir. Ahmad Sulaeman, MS, and Ir. Akhmad Zainal Abidin, MSc., Ph.D (Source: Special)

Jakarta, IO – The recent Drug and Food Control Agency (Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan – “BPOM”) scheme of imposing BPA warning labels on gallon-sized water jugs has aroused controversy among academics. The BPA Initial Draft of the labeling policy has been criticized as discriminatory and potentially undermining public interest, i.e., that of trusting in a daily supply of healthy drinking water. The “protection of public health” narrative issued by the BPOM to push this policy really fails to emphasize the urgency of this new ruling: 

“BPA is also found in the linings of food cans or cartons. BPA content in canned food packaging is actually more concerning, as various studies have proven that measurable BPA exposure mostly occurs during the consumption of canned food, while very little of it can be detected in packaged drinking water. Therefore, BPA labeling should logically start with canned foods instead,” declared Prof. Dr. Ir. Ahmad Sulaeman, MS, Bogor Institute of Agriculture (Institut Pertanian Bogor – “IPB”) Faculty of Human Ecology Professor of Food and Nutrition Security, in the “Gallon Water Bottle Labeling Regulation: the Urgency of Hydration Needs and the Dangers of Mistrust” media discussion held in Jakarta, last Thursday (17/11/2022). 

A large part of the Indonesian population depends on bottled drinking water for their hydration needs, with an average supply of 29 billion liters a year. According to UNICEF, 70% of the natural artesian and mains water flowing into Indonesian households is polluted by fecal matter. The Ministry of Health’s 2020 Quality of Household Drinking Water Study, which found that 7 out of 10 Indonesian households consume water contaminated by the E. coli bacteria, corroborated this finding.