Can it

You may have seen the headlines recently when Consumer Reports released new a study reporting BPA (Bisphenol A) levels in canned foods.

Here’s a more extensive write-up of the Consumer Reports report.

You may also have heard that organic companies didn’t do any better in the study.

I don’t eat a lot of canned foods, but there’s a couple of organic soups in Hain’s Imagine line that aren’t bad — my daughter’s fond of them, so I’d been keeping some on hand for those times when she needed a quick snack.

I’d just as soon her quick snacks aren’t dosed with endocrine disruptors, however. So I wrote Hain’s to ask if they use BPA-free cans.

Just got my answer.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding our Imagine Soup. We strive to maintain the highest quality products and appreciate your patronage.

Most metal food and beverage packaging has a thin coating of an epoxy containing BPA on the interior surface. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a compound used in most metal food and beverage packaging. The interior surface of the can has a thin coating of an epoxy containing BPA, which protects public health by preventing corrosion of the can and contamination of food and beverage by not coming in contact with the metal. This is one of the very few FDA approved coatings that will provide the safety and shelf life that consumers expect from our products. Tests have indicated that trace amounts of BPA may be present in these can coatings. The minute amounts detected are well below levels deemed to be of concern for public health according to the FDA.

The United States Center for Disease Control and The American Council on Science and Health, along with other Regulatory agencies worldwide, have extensively researched Bisphenol A and concluded there is no risk to human health. All coatings that come in contact with our products undergo stringent testing and comply with US Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

We are currently looking for other alternatives.

As the Atomic News piece linked above notes, it’s not easy for companies to find suppliers of epoxy-lined cans. But Eden has managed to do so:

The Ball Corp. eventually agreed to produce custom runs of cans with oleo-based C-enamel linings for Eden. It’s also doing research to develop BPA-free can coatings that could work for more acidic foods such as fruit, which Eden now markets in glass containers. “It’s costing me 14 percent more for these BPA-free cans, but I said I have to do this because not only do I eat canned foods, but so do my kids and grandkids,” [Eden Foods President and Chairman Michael] Potter says.

Eden’s canned foods, incidentally, still contain traces of BPA, but at far lower levels than Consumer Reports found in other canned foods.

Consumer Reports tested Eden cans, confirming they are BPA free.

So where does the contamination come from? Who knows. The results, CR says, suggest “that food can have multiple sources of exposure.”

Great.

To my environmentalist friends, this is one reason why I have trouble jumping on the global warming bandwagon. Endocrine disrupters are having an effect on the environment right now. Alarming numbers of male freshwater bass are now growing eggs, for instance — their sexual organs are being messed up. That’s scary stuff, because it means something is going on with our water, and ya know, I like to drink water.

I’d rather see us tackling these more immediate problems of environmental contamination than pouring trillions into preventing a problem that is, so far, a figment of a computer model’s imagination.

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