The BPA Project: The quest for canned food free of the toxic BPA linings
Posted Aug 21 2012 3:38pm
As with the other articles in my "Project" series, "The Stevia Project" and "The Chocolate Project", I "deep dive" into investigating a subject matter important to me as it relates to foods I consume daily.
I don't eat a whole heck of a lot of canned foods, but I do purchase a lot of canned salmon, very nice for salmon salads and such when I don't have fresh available, so I wanted to address this issue of toxic can linings.
We've all heard of it, bisphenol-A, or BPA, a chemical substance that lines most food and drink cans. One can easily do so ones own web research on the issues and concerns with this chemical, It has been linked in some studies to a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and health officials in the United States have come under increasing pressure to regulate it. Some researchers, though, counter that its reputation as a health threat to people is exaggerated. Uh…they can argue back and forth all they want, but I'm avoiding it like the Plague….too much evidence for we to trust a paid off FDA. Fortunately, I found there are a decent amount on BPA-Free canned goods out there.
Here are the results of my research, hopefully it helps someone else, especially those with kids and/or those that use a lot of canned foods
Trader Joes(BPA Free depends on the item)
All canned fish, chicken, and beef are now in BPA-free cans EXCEPT: sardines, crab, Cherrystone clams, & oysters. Supposedly, suppliers are working on a 2012 BPA-free solution for these exceptions.
All of canned fruits and vegetables (including but not limited to tomatoes, beans, and the organic canned pumpkin, which is a seasonal item) are in BPA-free cans EXCEPT: mandarins, hatch chilies, artichokes, organic baked beans. Supposedly working on an early 2012 BPA-free solution for these products, as well.
Coconut Milk is also in a BPA-free can. All pet food is in BPA-free cans.
Every glass jar item has a metal lid. All metal lids DO have a layer of BPA coating, but there is coating of another material put on top of the BPA coating. Thus, there is no direct contact of BPA to food. Supposedly have conducted multiple supplier testing results showing there is no BPA detected from metal lids.
Canned soups and stews (including Joe's Os) are in cans that DO have a BPA lining.
all Tetra Pak is BPA-free. The same goes for all of the plastics (i.e., our plastic water bottles, cookie tubs, etc.)
all of its bean and grain combos and chilis are also in cans with BPA free liners. However, the company is only now putting a "BPA Free Lining" sticker on the specially-produced cans it orders from Ball Corp.
Due to their acidic nature, Eden's tomatoes (and all of the industry's tomato products) are still in cans with BPA liners. To be BPA free, you'd have to switch to jarred tomato products.
So far as the Edens amber glass, the inside of the twist caps has two coats of sealer between the food and the metal of the cap. The first applied coating has some BPA in it. The second protective sealant over the metal does not contain any, and isolates the first coating from contact with the jar's contents.
Native Forest and Native Factor brands by Edwards & Sons have all of their products (except mushrooms) in BPA-free cans
Campbells was under a lot of heat, especially after a report released by advocacy group Breast Cancer Fund found the company’s soup to have some of the highest BPA levels among a variety of canned foods it tested. Campbells however has recently said it would "phase out" it's BPA lined cans.
The company however has not given any time table for when these changes will take place. I try to only report the news, but I would take that comment with a grain of salt, companies make announcements to calm the masses and for good PR, but that type of transition seems to be somewhat tedious and expensive, even for more socially conscious companies like Vital Choice mentioned above.
My concern about Campbells is that there are so many canned goods for kids like Spaghetti O's, Disney Princess and Toy Soups, all of with tested the highest in BPA contamination, and in spite of this announcement, these kid's products could still be on the shelves five years from now…..as we wonder why out kids are now getting obese, cancer, learning difficulties, and everything else.
Don't expect any non-BPA labeling on any canned goods, so I think anyone consuming Campbells would have to confirm on their own any specific Campbells product is BPA free………not to be cynical, but good luck with that
According to their website they are currently packaging their 6-ounce, lightly salted albacore and their 7.75-ounce salted, and no-salt-added albacore in non-BPA cans. Oregon has also made a commitment to have ALL of their products in BPA-free cans within the next two years.
Wild Planet has several of their fish products…including albacore tuna, skipjack light tuna and sardines… already packed in BPA-free cans. They are planning on moving their salmon products to BPA-free cans in the near future as well. Might be best to contact them if you want to inquire about a specific product of theirs.
Green Century Funds, a capital management fund focused on socially responsible companies has a report card on other companies so far as their efforts to eliminate BPA linings in cans. Here is the report card, and the full article can be found here. Included in the Green century article is an in depth PDF-file, a good read for those wanting more info. Good charts on how companies got their individual grades (such as the D+ for Whole Foods) and can be found here.
I hope this research helps anyone who wants more information on this issue but doesn't have time to look into it. In the end it seems to be a money issue, in that non BPA lined cans are more expensive.
I personally think BPA toxins are one of those things at the root of these "mystery diseases" plaguing the Western diet, especially with kids, so it's a serious issue. The most practical solution is to avoid cans altogether, or at least as much as possible.
If anyone has anything else to add to the list, shoot me a comment below and I will add it.