Friday, June 11, 2010

Home Canning is an alternative to BPA contaminated foods

I have been looking into BPA in commercially canned foods lately.  BPA has been found to be potentially very unhealthy and should be avoided.  Because of this, home canning is becoming more and more popular and a good alternative to buying commercially canned foods.

I would like to share this article with you that comes from Organic Grace.  Please read this and give a thought to canning your own produce this year.  Remember I am available to give canning lessons in the Olympia, WA area.  Of course I would go anywhere if my travel costs are covered.  Email me for more information.

BPA In Cans

Foods in #7 plastic containers and the majority of canned foods are exposed to this toxic chemical. Bisphenol-A is a plastic and resin ingredient used to line metal food and drink cans, and it's a main building block for polycarbonate (PC) plastics. Even at low doses, Bisphenol A has been linked to cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, obesity, and insulin resistance, which can lead to Type II diabetes. Refer to the Environmental Working Group report on BPA for more information.
So, what can you do to avoid exposing yourself to this chemical? The EWG report linked above has some suggestions, but here are the top ways you can avoid it:
  • Avoid all type #7 (PC) plastics. The most common plastic items of this type are those hard water bottles and some baby bottles. As an alternative, look for stainless steel bottles that are not lined with a plastic coating. Klean Kanteen is a popular brand, and has been tested for leaching.
  • If you can buy fresh or bulk food instead of canned items, do. If you can't buy fresh or in bulk, look for food items in glass jars instead of cans or look for products from companies that don't use BPA. Some common brands are listed below along with their answers about whether they use BPA in their cans. If you use a brand that's not listed, please feel free to contact them directly to ask, then share your results here.
  • Children are very susceptible to this chemical, so eliminate their exposure to all canned products, especially canned formula.
  • Never microwave plastics, and don't wash plastic in the dishwasher. If you use plastic tupperware, consider replacing them with glass storage containers such as Pyrex.
Common Brands of Canned Foods and Company Responses
After all the surge in publicity and hearing from many companys, I come to the conclusion that BPA is used industry wide and unless the company consciously chooses to purchase otherwise, all cans have it. I am now only posting updates when we hear of a company that does NOT have BPA in thier cans.
Eden Foods (see below). Besides their basic canned beans, they also have canned rice and beans dishes that are great when cooked up with some fresh veggies. Companies that choose glass jars, which is clearly the healthiest, is also a good choice.
*****Native Forest Coconut has just confirmed that their coconut milk is now canned in BPA FREE cans. This is super good news!!!!! In addition, they say: 
"Native Forest Organic mango chunks, papaya chunks and tropical fruit salad are now packed in non-BPA cans, as are most of our canned pineapple items.
Because we source organic pineapple from several suppliers in two countries, it will take us a little more time to complete this transition. We anticipate that all organic pineapple items will be packed in non-BPA cans in the first quarter of 2009.
We are currently in the process of converting all Native Forest items to non-BPA cans, but we are not there yet."
In addition! We hear that Ecofish brand tuna ect and Vital Choice are also BPA FREE....
Oregon's Choice Gourmet says:Right now we have BPA free cans available in the 6 oz. lightly salted Albacore and come next canning season we will be phasing in BPA free cans for more of our products. Our goal is to have everything canned in the BPA free cans within two years.
I have just heard that Wild Planet canned tuna at Whole Foods is bpa-free.  On the can it reads "Can Certified BPA Free."
Amy'sNot Safe
Company says they DO use BPA.
Bionaturae carries tomato paste and strained tomatoes in jars, but the company says they DOuse BPA in cans. However, they are researching an alternative.
Company says they DO use BPA in tomato cans. However, organic bean cans do NOT contain BPA. Out of all the companies I have heard from, this company seems to really be conscious about it. Here is what they have to say about their beans:
Are Eden Beans packed in cans with enamel lining that contains bisphenol-A?
Eden Organic Beans are packed in steel cans coated with a baked on
oleoresinous (a natural mixture of an oil and a resin extracted from
various plants, such as pine or balsam fir) c-enamel lining, that does
not contain bisphenol-A. These cans cost 14% more than the industry
standard cans, which do contain bisphenol-A.

Muir GlenNot Safe
Company says they DO use BPA.
Trader Joe'sUPDATE!!!
Canned items in our stores WITH BPA lining in the cans would include: tomatoes, tomato sauce & paste, soups, chili, and stew.
Canned items in our stores that DO NOT have BPA lining in the cans include:
seafood (tuna, salmon, herring, sardines, etc.), chicken, turkey & beef and now beans and corn. All of our products and packaging are within food safety guidelines and regulations. However, we also wanted to inform you that we do not have any plastic packaging with BPA.
Westbrae NaturalUnclear
Company email response says "We do not test our packaging for Bisphenol A."
Santa Barbara Olives - We have just found out Santa Barbara Olives DOES use BPA
Wolfgang PuckNot Safe
Company says they DO use BPA.
Progresso NOT SAFE
Lucini Italia Organics has 100% BPA-free foods packed in glass.
Lindsay Olives, the parent company is Bell-Carter Olive Co. They do use BPA in their cans and they consider it safe and within EU limits,
but their canners are "constantly looking into alternatives".
A customer wrote in and said; "I just called Earths Best Organic and asked whether they have BPA in
their cans (my daughter loves their Elmo Tomato Soup).
Unfortunately, they told me they do have BPA in their cans.  I asked
them to take it out and submitted a request on the website.
COCA COLA  is not only defending BPA as safe but is spending millions of dollars lobbying and publicizing it's safety to prevent regulations restricting it's use. Please call and voice your opinion.1-800-get-coke ext 2

Today 4/23/08 (a customer) spoke directly to the companies listed below and they
all said they use BPA as a chemical component in the lining of their
food cans:

Bush Brothers & Co
 (known for their Bush's Beans

 division of Campbells


Libby's, Nestle,
 (different divisions of the same co)

Con Agra
 (Ex:Rosarita brand
refried beans)
hope this helps.

S&W Organic 
said they
do have trace amounts of bp-A in their cans.

Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk HAS BPA
 and defends it. This makes me very sad!
(the one with the bunny) is using BPA in the epoxy lining but says they are looking into alternatives.
Hansens makers of Blue Sky organic soda,
uses BPA in their soda lining. Although they say the FDA and the Plastic
industry claims its safe for beverages.
Whole Foods/ 365 Label says
"Unfortunately, at this time, it would be impossible to determine if the can you take home from the
store contains BPA. Cans are part of the commodity market, and from the time the item is produced in a facility to the time it is pushed through distribution channels and lands on the shelf, to the time it is purchased, manufacturers may change suppliers for this commodity item numerous times.
Therefore, our Private Label products may or may not contain BPA. We do have individuals working on packaging alternatives and solutions; however, at this time it would be impossible to track the specific can of
This is a people driven list. Please call your favorite companies and ask - let them know you as a consumer wants BPA free food. Send me info and I will post it. I admit to being concerned about what they will replace the BPA with, as it won't be long term tested on humans either. Fresh is best!
The following brings up yet another BPA contamination issue - that of toothpaste tubes!
Subject: toothpaste tubes containing BPA
Discussion Thread
(Debra Kam) 02/20/2009 11:14 AM
I understand that BPA is present in the
lining of your toothpaste tubes --
can you tell me if you are planning to
change this and phase out the use of
Response (Megan Dunn)
02/20/2009 11:26 AM
Hello Debra,
Thank you for your e-mail and for
asking about BPA (Bisphenol-A) in our
packaging. Our tube manufacturer uses a
food-grade liner in our tubes and
they have reported to us that there is a
trace amount of BPA in the liner
material. However, testing of this liner by
an independent laboratory
actually has found that the level is actually below
their detection limit.
Based on this information, we believe that our liners
are safe for use as
far as BPA levels are concerned.
If you would like to sign a petition asking Muir Glen to remove the BPA please go here:


kenlowder said...

As if I really needed another reason for us to can this is one of the best.



Tango said...

Thanks for the info, I really appreciate it.

Anne said...

I hate to mention this.. as I don't want to discourage you in any way but.. you may want to look at the lids you use. Ball, Kerr, etc. lids have BPA.
The only ones I have found so far that don't are the really old canning jars with glass lids and rubber gaskets. Why Ball, Kerr and the others haven't cashed in on this, I do not know. The bonus to the old style jars are that the lids as well are reuseable (no need to buy more and more lids).
Don't let this discourage you though. Canning and pickling is an under appreciated art form, but while many can do it, each one is unique with some bordering on divine.
Meanwhile... just don't flip jars to cool. Minimizing the contact of the hot contents with the plastic lining on the lids minimizes it's exposure.
Keep up the wonderful work and endless inspiration, your efforts are appreciated. :)

Anonymous said...

I am aware that the lids now have plastic. BUT the plastic does not touch the food after the jars are finished with the canning process. Other lids can be purchased that are BPA free however they are expensive and I am too cheap -oops frugal to purchase them.
Home canning is going to have a resurgence for those that care about ingesting large quantities or lots of minimal quantities of BPA

earthkeeper said...

This is a great post. I linked to it from my blog and I have really been enjoying your columns. Thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience.

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