Monday, 22 April 2013

Commercial Canned Foods and BPA

We all eat canned food, it's something at we are all used to and comfortable with. It's super convenient and most of us couldn’t imagine doing without at least one item that comes in a can.  Canned foods have been around for generations so why is it a problem now?  The answer is a resin coating that lines the cans.  Almost all food cans are lined with a resin that contains Bisphenol A (BPA).  That means that BPA, an endocrine disruptor which can mimic estrogen, may leach into the food in those cans and then into the people eating that food.

From the Mayo Clinic’s website:
… the National Toxicology Program at the Department of Health and Human Services says it has "some concern" about the possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.

Canada became the first country to declare BPA a toxic substance but unfortunately, still allows BPA in cans. So how can I avoid BPA?
Can your own tomatoes or buy them in jars.
How to avoid BPA
  1. Buy BPA-free cans. Yes, luckily, there are some companies that are starting to change to BPA free cans.  For example, Native Forest, Eden Organic, Vital Choice, Whole Foods and Trader Joes all have some BPA free products. However, they don't label them as BPA-free and some products still have BPA, making it very difficult know what has it and what doesn't.  I suggest checking their websites to get more information before hitting the grocery store.
  2. Freeze or can your own foods. When your favourite fruit and vegetables are in  in season buy them in large quantities, can or freeze them and stock up for the year. To cut down on the work and up the fun get together with a friend or two and make a day of it.
  3. Buy things like dried beans and cook them as needed or make a big batch and freeze them for convenience (see my post on cooking beans from scratch – click here)
  4. Buy convenience foods like pasta sauce in a jar rather than in a can. Be sure to check the list of ingredients to avoid GMOs and unpronounceable chemicals (see my post on GMOs for a list of what to avoid).


For me the most difficult item to give up is tomato paste because even those metal tubes of the stuff have BPA in them!  I’m going to try making my own tomato paste and will let you know how that goes.  What is your most difficult canned food to give-up? Let us know how you worked around it. We all benefit when we share our ideas, leave yours below in the comments.  Thanks!
Getting Ready to Can.


  1. Good news: There exist jars of tomato paste now. Of course there is some BPA in the lids, but you would get that from a metal sealing disc anyway so ... ya, there's that. =D

    Also, and a sad little side note. Eden Gardens was always my fallback when I needed beans precooked at the last minute, but I just read that they are very fundamentalist Christian, very anti everything that is not that sort of Christian if you know what I mean. So now I have to stick with the dry beans. Oh well. Note to self: plan ahead better!

    1. Karen, great news on the tomato paste front. Could you tell us who makes it in a jar? Thanks.

  2. Bionaturae sells tomato paste in jars as well as crushed tomatoes, and possibly diced.
    For me, canned salmon is the hardest one. I love fresh salmon, but there are times when I want that salty canned salmon . . .
    With beans, I never seem to be able to plan ahead when I need to either. Here is my solution:
    Day 1, pre-soak your beans. A lot of beans.
    Day 2, drain and rinse beans. Put them in your slow cooker with fresh water and a little bit of kombu (sea vegetable) if possible. Let them cook on Low all day or at least 6 hours, until desired tenderness. Drain them well. Spread the drained beans on cookie sheets and put them in your freezer.
    Day 3, put beans from cookie trays into freezer bags.

    Voila - whenever you need beans, they can be ready on short notice. I make a big pot of beans once or twice a month. Sometimes garbanzos, sometimes pinto, navy, or black. I always have some sort of beans on hand. Or I make lentils. :-)


    1. :-) Oops -- I missed your earlier post on cooking & freezing beans!


  3. Laura, thanks for the info on Bionaturae tomato paste. I'll have to look for that. And yeah, I get the salmon craving thing too. Not sure how to get around that one, I have the same thing with tuna. Sometimes I just want a tuna sandwich Oh well, I guess I can live without it. Thanks for the slow cooker idea with the beans. I have never tried that. There are always so many things to learn and try out. Thanks for sharing!

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