Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bisphenol A (BPA) in Aluminum Cans

Bisphenol A (BPA), a possible endocrine disruptor that has been linked to a host of medical issues, first gained widespread attention when its inclusion in plastic baby bottles raised the ire of mothers, doctors and politicians.

pressure forced the bottle manufacturers to eliminate BPA.

However, unbeknownst to many consumers, the majority of aluminum cans also contain BPA in their linings. The word is spreading, though, and the big food companies are again looking for alternatives.

But, according to a recent Washington Post article, the solution isn’t that simple:
“Major food companies declined to talk publicly about their efforts to find a replacement for BPA linings. ‘We don't have a safe, effective alternative, and that's an unhappy place to be,’ [one source at a major U.S. food company] said.”
Even though the “[m]ajor U.S. foodmakers are quietly investigating how to rid their containers of Bisphenol A” and the “FDA announced last month that it had reversed its position and is concerned about the safety of BPA,” the North American Metal Packaging Alliance, the lobbying arm of the canned food and beverage industry, continues to sing the party line:
“John M. Rost, chairman of the North American Metal Packaging Alliance, which represents the canned food and beverage industry, said BPA has been ‘used safely in metal food packaging for decades. They have been deemed safe by regulatory agencies around the world.’”
Earth to Mr. Rost, earth to Mr. Rost.


BethD said...

Just a quick note about the product pictured (the name of which you've been careful not to disclose). Their 28 oz cans of organic tomatoes have the BPA liners, but the 14.5 oz cans do not. It's worth spending the few extra pennies.

An Hour In the Kitchen said...

Are you sure the 14.5 oz cans aren't lined with BPA? Is this new?

Chef Rob said...

BethD, Kara -

I just got off the phone with the manufacturer. The 14.5 oz. cans ARE lined with BPA. I'll discuss further in tomorrow's post.

Beth, what was your source for the information? The manufacturer was curious.


Anonymous said...

There are alternatives being used in some European countries, cartons, especially for Tomatoes. I think that the US consumer is not actively enough involved in the entire consumption process...
You have a great blog. Aloha

Dr. John said...


I have to take issue with your assertion that industry is proceeding without a thought to developing alternatives. I can assure you that the industry is working aggressively on developing new materials and processes for both epoxy and non-epoxy can linings. There are some alternatives being used for a few products and applications that are non-aggressive, like dried beans or hot tea. However, for the vast majority of products there is simply not an available replacement that adequately provides safety and performance standards that FDA requires. I did repeat the view of regulatory agencies worldwide that BPA is in fact safe – even the European Union which uses the precautionary principle has concluded that it is not a health concern. It is safe at current exposures, and it would be reckless to jeopardize our food safety in a haphazard shift to new, untested alternatives.

PACKAGEPrinter said...

CAN (ha, ha, not even meant to contain a laugh --- still not trying to be funny), this highly informed audience direct me to finding an association that helps politically and educationally the major manufacturers of thin-metal packaging? Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Chef Rob said...

PAKAGEPrinter - Try contacting the Center for Food Safety - - or the American Beverage Association -

Their views about our food supply are diametrically opposed but they both may have the resources to point you in the right direction.

Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

The obvious choices should be; glass for all liquids, and either paper or cloth for dry goods. Simply returning to our roots!

Chef Rob said...


Anonymous said...

I have developed a sensitivity to these chemicals.. the threat is very real. The FDA doesn't give two expletives's about our health.

Look too- Sodium Fluoride in your tooth paste and water(along with chlorine) and then hop on over to the shower and read the label of your soaps and shampoo.. powerful xenoestrogen hormone mimicking chemicals, and this is only the beginning.

Chef Rob said...

Unfortunately, so true.

west los angeles hotels said...

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Jayesper said...

Can another metal be found to be used in conjunction? Or would it take a non-metal or semi-metal? =/

Just sad that an alternative cannot be come across!

I mean I am all for glass being used, but we have got to do a better job of not letting bits just sit on the ground! (I've read estimates on the duration of decomposition. Just let heat from the mantle do the trick if some must be disposed of rather than reused.)

Anonymous said...

That appears to me to be a steel can not an aluminium can. Most aluminum cans are for beverages or cat food. Of course aluminium is much more aggressively recycled since it is worth around 50 cents US a pound in our area. I make around $100 a year saving all the aluminium cans the soda drinkers in our household discard and hauling them off the the metal recyclers. Steel cans are only worth 5 cents US a pound. Not worth the gasoline to take them by themselves to the metal recycler.