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Tests of Canned Food Brands Reveal Most Have Controversial Chemical in Can Lining

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-canned-food-choice-variety-bean-supermarket-shelves-photo-was-taken-april-image30512243Bisphenol-A, or BPA, a chemical component found in plastic bottles and canned food liners, has long courted controversy over its alleged health risks. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has maintained that it is safe at current levels, environmental groups and others contend that the synthetic compound may cause health complications in humans.

On Wednesday, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its list of 78 canned food brands that use BPA in their can lining, along with 31 brands that do not use BPA. The organization said this is the first time that such information has been released.

The list of brands containing BPA includes household names such as Progresso, Hormel and Del Monte, as well as more specialized or regional brands. Products that do not use BPA in can lining included those from brands such as Amy’s, Tyson and Earth’s Best Organic.

EWG tested 252 canned food items between January and August 2014 to come up with the list and is now encouraging supporters to take action by demanding that the companies using BPA cease doing so.

BPA can leach out of container linings and into food, and studies have shown trace amounts to be found in most people. Some studies have shown that large doses of BPA exposure may be linked to a range of health maladies, from reproductive issues to cancer.

But FDA and other regulatory bodies around the world have repeatedly dismissed those claims, stating that the levels found in food are far too low to cause any health problems. The American Chemistry Council, for one, agrees.

“Scientists and regulatory agencies who have reviewed BPA have concluded that BPA is safe for use in food packaging,” said a representative from the Grocery Manufacturers Association in a statement to Food Safety News.

Aside from FDA, that list of regulatory agencies includes the European Food Safety Authority, the World Health Organization, the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and Health Canada.

Last year, scientists from FDA and the National Institutes of Health published a collaborative study looking into the effect of BPA on rats at doses ranging from 70 times the amount Americans typically consume to several million times that amount.

Even at 70,000 times the typical American exposure levels, the rats in the study exhibited no significant changes, the researchers found.

In May, California’s scientific advisory panel added BPA to its list of toxic chemicals.

In 2011, EWG successfully campaigned to have BPA banned from baby bottles and sippy cups in California, and today, bottles and cups designed for babies and young children and sold in the U.S. do not legally contain BPA.

The organization’s director of research, Renee Sharp, called for a national standardized limit on BPA in canned foods.

“Many people on tight budgets or with little access to fresh food rely on canned food as a source of nutrients,” Sharp said in a statement. “That’s why we need to get this right. We need a clear national standard that limits the use of BPA in canned food and improves transparency so that people can know when and if they are ingesting this harmful chemical.”

© Food Safety News
  • joe cash

    The FDA has been bought off. BPA is an endocrine disputer and a nasty chemical not fit for humans. I buy only canned goods that don’t have the plastic liner. If you look, you can find them

    • grifty

      So…evidence? Who at the FDA has been bought off? Everyone? The NSA couldn’t keep their spying program hidden..what chance would the FDA have at a coverup?

      I don’t doubt that there are pro-industry types at the top. They are political appointees. But below them..the people actually doing the work..those folks can and will talk.

  • DocB

    Ok,
    I’m not going to get into the debate BPAs and their safety. What I want to understand is why anybody is still using it at all, as new technology has made it all but un-needed. Yes it will cost some money to change the systems but the good publicity from making the changes would be worth a small fortune. More and more companies have found it profitable to drop GMOs, artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup or other things. I would like to think these companies were doing this as responsible action but I am more willing to believe this was an economic decision.

    • grifty

      “Yes it will cost some money to change the systems” you answered your own question.

      • DocB

        You have missed my point. You have to spend money to make money. There is strong economical incentive to offer customers a better product. If the customer perceives that BPA free is a better product, then it is, because perception is fact. A company can stay the same and watch the world leave it behind or it can change with it. Changes are not always good but they are inevitable.

  • Dave

    We pack a hard to hold food. Currently BPA is the only solution to this issue. What I been told is BPA is harmful. What I know is if my can fails the one of two things will happen. Our product will be leaking on the retailer’s or customer shelf. The other is a pathogen(s) may enter the package and create illness or death.

    • DPrty

      BPA is not the only solution. You will loose business when the public finds your using it.

  • Ollie

    Sounds like DocB and Joe Cash don’t understand scientific testing and reasoning, in addition to economics. Why should we let groups like EWG dictate what is right and wrong in our world?

    • DocB

      You’re still not getting it. I have no problems with the science. I am not debating whether BPAs are harmful. Let me remind you of “pink slime” in ground beef. There is no proof that pink slime was harmful. The public decided that pink slime or mechanically separated beef was a bad thing. The bad press hit several companies to the tune of millions of dollars in lost sales. I understand scientific testing and results. I also understand that to the general public what they believe is the truth, is in fact the truth. You can sight all the proof you want as you file your bankruptcy paperwork. We sell the public what they want to buy or they buy it from someone else. The economics is not that hard.

  • Rouver
    • MN Born

      I don’t disagree – and I still think a lot of products can skip ingredients, toxic or not. We will find out how harmful they are. Half a century ago, trans-fat was thought to be an answer…I’m willing to look for products and pay the difference to reduce my family’s crazy chemical footprint.

  • Oginikwe

    Glass works for me.
    I always buy glass over cans.

  • Lonna Kahn

    The canning process often destroys the taste and texture of food. Now it is admitted that it poisons us as well. Wouldn’t it be nice if Heinz, Campbell and their kin put tomato products, baked beans, soups, fish, etc. in glass jars?