The latest tests for BPA levels in canned foods are very unsettling. BPA, if you remember, is a chemical that mimics estrogen in the body, causing numerous health problems. It is used extensively in the plastics industry. In the food industry, BPA is used in the lining of food and drink cans (including soda!). Alarmingly, cancer and infertility have both been linked with BPA.
The National Workgroup for Safe Markets has recently reported that canned foods, many of which are labeled “organic”, were found to have an average of 77 parts per billion (ppb) of BPA, almost 5 times higher than what the FDA found testing BPA levels in canned food back in 1996. 92% of the samples tested contained measurable levels of BPA.
The report, aptly titled No Silver Lining, found no link between the age of the product and BPA levels. Moreover, price, quality, or nutrition value of the product had absolutely no bearing in the levels of BPA detected. Therefore, organic canned foods were found to be just as likely to be loaded with BPA as cheap nonorganic ones.
This report puts additional pressure on manufacturers who must step up efforts to hasten implementation of alternatives to canning, such as glass jars. In the meantime, consumers beware. Canned foods need to be avoided even more urgently than we thought. I will be switching away from canned coconut milk immediately. I have already switched to a brand of organic tomato products which use glass jars instead of cans.
Please comment with any brands you know of that are utilizing alternative packaging to cans. BPA has shown itself to be a chemical that we cannot take any chances with in any amount.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist