I opened up my email the other day to find a common lament. Healthiertalk.com reader, and busy mom, Lisa C. wrote…
“The convenience of being able to supplement dinner with an occasional canned food is a Godsend.
But with all the things I have been reading about the dangers of BPA, I want to limit my children’s exposure to this poison as much as I can.
Do I just have to stop using ANY canned items? Are there any other options?”
I certainly understand your dilemma, Lisa. I would prefer to fix meals from scratch with fresh ingredients every time I cook, but realistically I just can’t manage it 100% of the time.
That’s why I’m happy to be able to finally report some good news on the bisphenol-A (BPA) front. There are, in fact, several food manufacturers that have been listening to our concerns and that have made the switch to BPA-free cans!
But I must warn you before you go shopping for BPA-free canned foods, that few manufactures are actually labeling their cans as BPA-free, making finding them a real challenge…not to mention frustrating.
Make the switch to BPA-free canned foods
However, if you stock your pantry shelves with the foods from the list below you can rest assured that you’ll have removed at least one of your family’s major exposures to this dangerous endocrine-disrupting chemical:
Eden tops the list in the BPA-free can’s category both in terms of when they made the switch (1999!) and number of products. All 33 of their organic bean products…including chili, rice & beans, refried beans, and flavored beans…are cooked in steel cans coated with a baked on product called oleoresinous c-enamel. According to Eden’s website, oleoresinous c-enamel is a nontoxic mixture of oil and resin extracted from various plants, such as, for example, pine or balsam fir.
If you’re looking for a BPA-free canned tuna, Oregon’s Choice might be your choice too. According to their website they are currently packaging their 6-ounce, lightly salted albacore and their 7.75-ounce salted, and no-salt-added albacore in non-BPA cans. Oregon has also made a commitment to have ALL of their products in BPA-free cans within the next two years.
I was able to confirm that Wild Planet has several of their fish products…including albacore tuna, skipjack light tuna and sardines… already packed in BPA-free cans. They are planning on moving their salmon products to BPA-free cans in the near future as well.
Edward and Sons’ Native Forest brand provides a variety of BPA-free canned-fruit choices, including mango chunks, papaya chunks, tropical fruit salad, and coconut milk. Most of their pineapple items are already in non-BPA cans as well, but the company is still transitioning some of them over. Native Forest plans to move ALL of their products to non-BPA cans in the near future.
I contacted Vital Choice, and they confirmed that ALL of their canned seafood products, including salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, and mackerel, are in BPA-free cans. (They also let me know that their frozen fish portions are packed in film that is certified free of BPA.) In fact, Vital Choice is one of the earlier adopters, making the switch to BPA-free packaging in 2006.
This one is a well-kept secret. Nothing on the Trader Joe’s website (or on its canned goods) indicates that they are using BPA-free cans. But I was able to confirm from several sources that they indeed are selling several Trader Joe’s products in non-BPA cans, including their canned beans, beef, poultry, fish, and corn.
I was in contact with the President of EcoFish and he confirmed that you can already purchase their albacore tuna and wild pink salmon in BPA-free cans, and they even have new packaging in the works that will include a “BPA Free Can” banner.
When in doubt, just choose safer, but still convenient, alternatives, such as cartons, frozen foods and glass jars. (Although some lids on glass jars may still be BPA-lined, the jars are often the lesser of two evils.)
So, I’m officially encouraging you to give yourself permission to say “Yes, sometimes I CAN use cans.”
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