Kick BPA-lined Cans To The Curb by Kirby Wetzel, March 30 2016, 0 Comments

For years now, many have suspected that BPA, short for Bisphenol A, is bad news. Scientists have warned that the toxic chemical is an endocrine-disruptor that will wreak havoc on our hormonal systems—increasing the risk for prostate and breast cancer, early puberty, infertility, type-2 diabetes, asthma, obesity, and behavior changes including attention deficit disorder. We’ve had BPA-free water bottles, baby bottles and food storage containers marketed to us, yet we’ve been eating food from cans lined with the stuff. Why? Well, it hasn't been exactly easy to find out which brands used liners containing BPA. Unless a brand specifically marketed their products to be free of BPA, it was hard to know what companies used it and what didn’t. 

Personally, much of the information I found was from Web sites just like this—that wanted to spread the word and listed brands they trusted. Share the love, right? Right. In fact, thanks to a new collaborative report by the Breast Cancer Fund, Campaign for Healthier Solutions, Clean Production Action, Ecology Center, Environmental Defense (Canada), and the "Mind the Store" campaign by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, we can share with you information on BPA-free brands of canned goods and steps you can take to make your voices heard in the call for safer canned foods.

Findings 

In their report, the Breast Cancer Fund investigated and presented previously released evidence on BPA in canned food and food packaging and found that:

  • BPA is still hiding in many popular national brands of canned food
  • Food manufacturers are not making good on their promises to stop using BPA
  • Testing and BPA policies vary widely in retailers’ “private label” and store brand canned food

In fact, the association's findings are shocking. In the samples tested:

  • 100% of Campbell’s cans contained BPA-based epoxy even though the company has claimed to be making moves to transition away from it
  • 71% of the sampled Del Monte cans and 50% of sampled General Mills cans (including Progresso and Green Giant) tested positive for BPA-based epoxy
Other brands that tested positive for BPA in their cans' lining were: Thai Kitchen, Nestlé Carnation, Empire Company Limited, Goya, Ocean Spray Cranberries, Thai Agri Foods, and Vilore Foods.
 
Among private label or store brand canned food, 62% of canned food tested positive for BPA-based epoxy resins, including samples from popular retailers such as Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Albertsons, Safeway, Kroger, Target, Meijer, Gordon Food Service, Trader Joe's, Walmart and Whole Foods. Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Gordon Food Service, Meijer and Target had BPA-based epoxy resin in all tested cans of beans and tomatoes.

But there is some good news. A few companies are making good on their promise to eliminate BPA. These companies include Amy’s Kitchen, Annie’s Organic, Hain Celestial Group, Con Agra and Eden Foods. With the exception of Eden Foods, these companies have fully transitioned away from the use of BPA and have disclosed the alternatives they are using. Eden foods has reported that they have eliminated the use of BPA liners in 95% of its canned foods. 

Steps You Can Take to Ensure Companies Transition Away from BPA and to Limit Your Exposure to the Chemical

  • Support the “Ban Poisonous Additives Act” and other federal policy initiations that would require the FDA to more strictly regulate the safety of food packing
  • Make your voices heard and demand that your favorite brands and retailers take these steps:
      • Set a time frame to eliminate BPA and use safe substitutes in the lining of canned foods and other food packaging;
      • Label the presence of BPA and BPA-alternative chemicals in their can linings; and
      • Publicly disclose safety data for BPA alternatives
  • Vote with your dollars! Purchase only canned food from manufacturers and retailers that fully disclose the identity and safety of their can linings
  • Avoid canned foods when possible, choose fresh and frozen instead
  • Stay tuned! Join the campaigns listed below and visit their Web sites for additional information and updates: 
View the full report here.