September 23rd, 2011

BPA Strikes Again and This Time at Kids

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BPA in canned food

BPA just won’t go away. It has been found on everything from receipts to dollar bills.  In a new report by the Breast Cancer Fund dangerous levels of the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) were found in a wide variety of canned foods specifically marketed towards kids. Some of the highest levels were found in Campbell’s Disney Princess and Toy Story soups. A child-sized serving of these soups could result in high levels of BPA exposure. There were even “healthy” companies on the list of BPA laden products- Annies Homegrown and Earths Best Organic.

How are these companies still making products with BPA? Maybe I’m naive-but I’m having a difficult time understanding how BPA is still around. This is not a new topic. It’s one that we’ve been talking about for a long time and the dangers are known and documented.

According to the Breast Cancer Fund-

Exposure to BPA, used to make the epoxy-resin linings of metal food cans, has been linked in lab studies to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty in girls, type-2 diabetes, obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Childhood exposure is of concern because this endocrine-disrupting chemical can affect children’s hormonal systems during development and set the stage for later‐life diseases.

The president and CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund, Jeanne Rizzo says “There should be no place for toxic chemicals linked to breast cancer and other serious health problems in our children’s food. We hope this report will shine a spotlight on this issue and encourage companies to seek safer alternatives to BPA.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m angry.

What can you do?

Don’t buy from the companies that continue to use BPA in their canned goods.

Here are the products that tested positive for BPA

  • Annie’s Homegrown Cheesy Ravioli
  • Campbell’s Disney Princess Cool Shapes, Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth
  • Campbell’s Spaghettios with Meatballs
  • Campbell’s Toy Story Fun Shapes, Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth
  • Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Pasta, Mini ABC’s & 123’s with Meatballs
  • Earth’s Best Organic Elmo Noodlemania Soup

Take action.

  • Join the “Cans Not Cancer” campaign launched by The Breast Cancer Fund urging manufacturers to replace BPA with safer alternatives.
  • Join Moms Rising and tell Campbell Soup Company, Con Agra (maker of Chef Boyardee), Annie’s Homegrown and Hain Celestial (maker of Earth’s Best) to stop marketing BPA to kids.

Find alternatives to canned goods.

Avoid canned foods altogether. Join a CSA and enjoy local, seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables.  Use dry beans and pasta-it may take a little longer to prepare, but it’s worth it!

There is no excuse for this. BPA doesn’t belong anywhere near our food.  Please take the time to tell these companies that we are not OK with this.  It won’t take long and it will make a difference.

Can you think of any other ways to avoid BPA in canned products?


[Photo source/Breast Cancer Fund]

36 Responses to “BPA Strikes Again and This Time at Kids”

  1. I think we just have to keep doing what you’re doing, what other green bloggers are doing, and keep the awareness level up. We can’t get complacent about BPA. We can’t get complacent about what manufacturers may be replacing BPA with. We have to keep demanding change and support the companies that accept it and choose to innovate.

    It is too easy to become overwhelmed by the ubiquitousness of it. I find it incredibly unfortunate that it is in so many places, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change that.

  2. Hi Lori –

    At this time, the FDA has not approved a BPA-free can for use with our type of tomato-based products. However, we understand there is concern around the use of BPA. As a company committed to unsurpassed product quality and safety standards, we are actively working with our supply partners to find a safe can lining without BPA and/or another package solution.

  3. Hi Nellie-Thanks so much for commenting. Annie’s is a top brand of choice in our home so I was surprised to see them on the list. Thank you for letting us know that Annie’s is working hard to replace their BPA lined cans. I know that tomato based products are challenging because of their acidity. Would it be possible to use glass containers?

  4. I think you’re right Brenna. Keep the dialog going and keep the awareness level high and hopefully change will happen. That way the companies will know that their consumers won’t stand for it and change needs to be made quickly. You made a very good point-we need to pay close attention to what the BPA will ultimately be replaced with. It could be just as harmful.

  5. I’m also surprised to see Annie’s on the list. I rather like their mac and cheese (not in a can!) and thought they’d be way at the front of the game as far as BPA goes. I haven’t had canned soup in some time — the last time I had any, it was so salty it made my mouth hurt. Canned soups are convenient, but it’s also possible to make homemade and freeze. Healthier and tastier!

  6. This is why I can my own dried beans. And tomato based canned products are the worst because the acidity of the tomatoes cause the BPA to leach. I’m canning my own tomato products too. Thanks for the heads up on who is doing what. Will share your post with my networks. Thank you for what you do!

  7. Glass containers! Wouldn’t that solve everything? A few years ago Campbells was selling soup in a big glass jar, “home style” or some such spin. And it was really a good product. And now it’s gone.
    It shouldn’t be this hard. I’m down to buying almost nothing in cans, except beans from Eden, the first company (that I know of) to pointedly kick BPA to the curb.

  8. Hi Jennifer-Annie’s did comment and said they are trying to find a replacement for BPA in their can linings. You are right-canned soup can be very salty. Especially if you’re not used to cooking with a lot of salt. I’m a fan of homemade soup also. Nothing like it in the winter!

  9. I am so impressed by your canning abilities. I’m don’t can anymore-although I grew up canning tomatoes from our garden so I’m familiar with the process. Great idea to can beans-that way they are ready for use when you need them. That’s always my issue. I don’t plan out meals in advance and when I need beans I need them quickly. I buy Eden Organic beans. Their cans are BPA free. You are welcome and thanks for sharing the info with your networks.

  10. I am a big fan of glass containers too Sarah. Seems like such a simple fix. I’m guessing that all of these companies have checked out glass and there must be a valid reason why they don’t use it. Maybe someone could clue me in. I buy from Eden also-they’ve been BPA free for years (except their tomato products).

  11. Hi everyone – thanks for commenting and asking questions. Glass containers would seem like the best choice – but has other drawbacks namely high cost and inefficient to transport. We really want to keep these items as affordable as possible. Another is Tetra, which has advantages. And last, we are looking at alternate cans also, although for the type of product we make there is no FDA approved option. Canned pastas with tomato sauce are highly acidic, and must be cooked at high heat and under pressure. So the lined cans being used by Muir Glenn for example will not work on our small (canned) product line.

  12. Thanks for the additional information and update Nellie. I had a feeling glass containers would be very costly. I hadn’t thought about the transportation issues involved. I would think Tetra would be a good option-much like the Trader Joes tomatoes and Pomi cartons. Could you clarify why the Muir Glenn BPA-free aluminum cans wouldn’t work for your small canned product line? Thanks so much for being in touch.

  13. Hi Lori,

    It’s because it’s a canned pasta with tomato sauce – not just tomatoes, so acidity levels are different. BPA is needed in the lining of the cans to prevent the tomato sauce and pasta from reacting with and leaching the metal in the cans.

  14. Thanks for the clarification Nellie.

  15. I’m surprised to see Annie’s and Earth’s Best on that list too! Although, I appreciate that someone from Annie’s has already been here to address the issue – it’s reassuring that they’re aware and working on it.

  16. Hi Mallory-It was surprising to see them on there, but as Nellie from Annie’s has told us, the solution isn’t a simple one. I have really appreciated Annie’s transparency on this issue and their willingness to stop by with answers to questions and updates. That says a lot in my book. Now they need to find a solution because BPA is unacceptable, especially in products marketed to children. Thanks so much for your comment.

  17. Glass, please! I’d happily pay more to offset the increased cost of glass over metal, if it means I can stay away from BPA. My health matters more to me than my money, at least to a reasonable limit. 🙂

  18. Hi Andrea-I have to agree with you. I’d be willing to pay a little extra for the glass containers knowing for certain that there was no BPA. I wonder if we are in the majority?

  19. I really appreciate the feedback from Annie’s. I love that the company is willing to be part of this conversation.
    But… Then why does glass work so well for baby food–in those tiny portions whereby there’s even MORE glass per serving than if the jar were larger. I don’t quite buy the argument that it’s cost effective for a cheap-o brand like Prego to put their (sugar added) spaghetti sauce in glass jars, but not cost effective for canned soup and Muir Glen tomatoes.

  20. Hi Sarah-you raise some excellent questions. Hopefully Nellie from Annie’s will have an opportunity to address them.

  21. @Lori. I ran into that with beans too. I’d forget to soak them then the next day I’d have to buy cans. With canning them myself they are already in the pantry. It’s nice.
    @Nellie from Annie’s – I too appreciate your willingness to join the conversation. I also appreciate that the company is searching for an alternative to BPA. But until they find it I cannot buy any product bound in BPA. My son has Autism and ADHD, conditions linked to harmful chemicals. This is personal.

  22. I wish I could be as organized as you M&ED 🙂 I say every year that I need to can, but it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe next year ?? BPA is an extremely personal issue to all of us. Thank you for sharing your strong voice against BPA in all products. If we keep the discussion going maybe companies will work a little harder and faster to resolve this issue.

  23. No response from Annie’s about why baby food can be economically shipped in jars even though there’s clearly more glass per unit product there. Annie is just looking out for number one; her profits.

  24. […] Bisphenol-A (BPA) […]

  25. […] For those of you who missed the national news on Saturday night, as I did, here is the clip from my appearance on ABC World News Tonight discussing bisphenol A (BPA). […]

  26. […] was meant to protect us is now old and outdated and isn’t doing its job. We still have cans with BPA linings on our shelves. Laundry detergents continue to contain cancer causing chemicals. Nursing pillows […]

  27. […] study found dangerous levels of BPA were even found in a wide variety of canned foods specifically marketed towards kids. Over the past year, consumers sent more than 70,000 messages to canned food companies telling them […]

  28. […] epoxy linings in canned foods contains bisphenol A (BPA) which leaches into the contents of the can, some at very high levels. An FDA study found canned […]

  29. […] study found dangerous levels of BPA were even found in a wide variety of canned foods specifically marketed towards kids. Over the past year, consumers sent more than 70,000 messages to canned food companies telling them […]

  30. […] report uses  BPA, or bisphenol-A, a hormone disrupting chemical, as an example. BPA can be found in the lining of some metal cans, […]

  31. […] many of us know by now BPA is bad news. It’s a hormone-disrupting chemical that’s been linked in lab studies to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty […]

  32. […] nutritional quality, and whose packaging is another potential source of toxic chemicals including bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic hormone linked to breast and others cancers, reproductive problems, obesity, early […]

  33. […] Water samples from several hoses contained numerous chemical hazards, including phthalates, lead and BPA. […]

  34. […] few years ago we learned that BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical that’s been linked in lab studies to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty in […]

  35. […] aren’t safe and should be avoided. Check out this double decker lunch bag that is PVC, BPA and Phthalate-free. This clever design has two compartments, the top for easy access and the bottom […]

  36. […] few years ago we learned that BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical that’s been linked in lab studies to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty in […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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