Nestle reportedly among the groups has agreed not to disclose information to the detriment of consumers.
French officials did not name the companies or trade associations involved, but Nestle said on Wednesday that some of its subsidiaries were implicated.
“The company strongly disagrees with these allegations and will vigorously fight them,” Nestle said.
The charges relate to the presence of bisphenol A, or BPA, which is used to harden plastics and is visible in metal cans and bottle tops. It is also found in products such as CDs, bike helmets and sunglasses.
France banned the use of BPA in ingredients that come into contact with food since 2015, amid concerns that the chemical could be linked to potential health problems. The US banned the use of BPA in packaging for baby formula in 2013, but declared it safe when the chemical was banned in packaging such as food cans.
A company spokesperson said on Wednesday that Nestle has not been using BPA in its food packaging in France since 2014. He said the company had issued a statement about the investigation to comply with strict stock-market regulations in Switzerland where it is located.
The maker of Nescafe Coffee and DiGiorno Pizza said an assessment of the potential financial impact is currently not possible, and the allegations against its subsidiaries indicated a “minor role”.
France’s competition authority said the parties would now have a chance to defend themselves during the oral hearing. A spokesperson for the regulator declined to comment further.
Nick Kostov at [email protected]