Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mubarak Out? (Some) Muir Glen BPA-Free Tomato Cans In!

Hosni Mubarak’s time as Egyptian president may be limited, but it’s not all bad news for him. In the near future, Mubarak (and all of the hoi polloi) will be able to eat canned tomatoes free of Bisphenol A (BPA).

BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical used in many plastics and aluminum cans, and according to Rodale News, is “linked to male infertility, diabetes, heart disease, aggressive behavior in children, and other ills.” (BPA is number six on Rodale’s recent “7 More Household Toxins You Should Banish from Your Home” list.)

BPA was always deemed essential in canned tomato products because of the tomatoes’ high acidity. For home cooks, this was troubling, as canned tomatoes are essential in tomato sauces, chilies, stews and other dishes. (Organic jarred tomatoes are available, albeit more expensive and more difficult to find.)

Thankfully, relief is on the way. Muir Glen, the maker of high-quality organic tomatoes, started using BPA-free aluminum cans for last summer’s tomato harvest. These cans can now be found at supermarkets.

However, identifying which Muir Glen tomato products are BPA-free is not straightforward, as no labeling or coding exists for the BPA-free cans.

According to Muir Glen, the only indicator of a BPA-free product is the can’s expiration date. If the expiration date is in 2013, then the can may be BPA-free. Cans with earlier expiration dates contain BPA.
To reiterate, at this time, not all cans with a 2013 expiration date are BPA-free.

Muir Glen has no time frame for the changeover’s completion, but the company will make a formal announcement when the transition to BPA-free cans is finished.


Dr Mike S said...

This is great news. Now all we have to worry about is alzheimers from the aluminum. I would stick to the glass jar if I could find them that way. Im going to jar my own tomatoes from the garden next year!

beverly said...

What about those tetra packs for tomatoes? Not sure there are organic tomatoes packed that way -- but worth checking out. Also - it is so easy to freeze masses of tomatoes in August. Bake whole tomatoes of similar size in moderate oven on a cookie sheet until nicely roasted and juices concentrate a bit, then pop into your favorite jars for the freezer, peel and all. Or, slip peel off if you prefer. You can blend before freezing, etc., add herbs, etc. Easy and tasty. After years of freezing them for year-round use, and trying all dif prep techniques with food mills blah blah blah, this is my new fav method.

jse997 said...

I usually buy the Pomi chopped tomatoes in a box (kind of like a big juice box), do those have BPA also?

Chef Rob said...

Dr. Mike & Beverly - I agree; there's nothing better than growing and jarring your own. Bev - I'll try your technique this summer.

jse997 - The boxed Pomi tomatoes don't have BPA. Just realize, though, that the tomatoes aren't organic so they are most likely sprayed with pesticides.

Sandra said...

Chef Rob- if you read recent articles about Pomi, you will see that they are not spray with pesticides. They are 100% all natural. Aren't even grown with genetically modified seeds! Love 'em!

Chef Rob said...


Thank you for your comment. I just got off the phone with Pomi USA Inc., an American company that handles Pomi distribution in the United States.

The person who answered the phone said the tomatoes are not organic. However, some food not sprayed with pesticides isn't labeled organic because of hassles with paperwork, red tape, etc.

He is sending an email to corporate headquarters in Italy to find out the spraying situation. He will then let me know. I will pass on that information when I receive it.

Thanks again for raising this issue.

Chef Rob said...


And, yes, you are correct--Pomi tomatoes are not genetically modified, which is a plus!

Anonymous said...

You need to eat a juicy frank and fries!------

Sandra said...

Thank you for following up!

Chef Rob said...

Of course. Unfortunately, I have yet to hear back from Pomi USA. Why is it so difficult to get (accurate) information about our food?!?!?