by Marion Nestle
Jan 16 2010

FDA to reevaluate Bisphenol A (BPA)

The FDA now says it has concerns about BPA and intends to join other federal agencies in a review of the chemical’s safety.   As readers of this blog may recall from previous posts, the FDA has a long-awaited report on BPA sitting in a drawer someplace.  The report was due at the end of November.  Now we can guess the reason for the delay.  The report must have given BPA a pass even though studies seem to be coming in daily suggesting harm.  BPA may not be immediately deadly, but it does not seem good for human health.

The most recent study, this one  from England, looked at dietary intake data in the U.S.   It concluded that BPA is a risk factor for heart disease.  The industry, of course, disagrees.  They think the British study isn’t scientific enough.

Faced with increasing evidence of harm, the FDA is doing the right thing to take this one on.  The problem will be getting rid of BPA.  We can all do our part by avoiding hard plastic bottles, but what about the linings of canned foods?  The canning industry says it doesn’t have a safe substitute.  Until they find one, you will have to add canned foods to the list of foods to avoid.

  • L.C.

    So millions of pound of this stuff have been coddling the food supply since the 1960′s? Oh my. Avoiding all canned foods will be quite an interesting thing to attempt. But are all canned foods lined with BPA-containing materials? I bet the “health benefits” of non-BPA cans will be showing up soon.

  • Jenna

    Eden Foods does not line their canned beans with BPA! I believe they are the only company not to do so… there might be one other company.. Hmm. Well, Bionature sells tomato products in glass jars which is BPA-free! But, as far as canned beans go, Eden’s products are the best! They are organic, use the best ingredients (kombu!), and…. are BPA-free. Isn’t it weird to think of a food as BPA-free rather than a water bottle?!

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  • Anthro

    Muir Glen’s cans are lined in a white material (I forget what it is) and I was wondering if this is BPA free?

    Thanks for the tip on Eden brand, Jenna.

    It’s getting very difficult to find some products in anything but plastic, even at the co-op. Costco has all plastic for peanut butter (even the organic) and my local supermarket chain has NO honey in glass. Ketchup has been all plastic for ages. I have to make multiple forays to get around this and it wastes gas.

    It’s not just BPA I’m avoiding–all plastic used just for packaging is a waste of resources. The stuff NEVER goes away, just breaks down into smaller and smaller bits and gets into everything. There are some justifiable used for plastic (safety, medical) perhaps, but food packaging isn’t one of them in my view. Recycling isn’t the entire answer either for reasons mentioned above as well as lack of markets.

  • http://blogsthatmakemethink.blogspot.com/ Jim Purdy

    Is anything safe?

  • Mary

    So, Marion, do you mean BPA is in ALL canned foods? Or just primarily canned tomatoes? And is there a safe amount of canned tomatoes one can consume? Say, one can a month? What about canned beans, like black beans, Great Northern white beans, etc.? This news is certainly disheartening. And I wonder what options that leaves for food pantries around the country? Do they not offer any canned goods whatsoever? Which is worse?

  • http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~mehaugen Marisa

    @Anthro: I buy raw honey at my local health store, it comes in glass jars. Check your local health/natural food stores as well!

  • Cathy Richards

    Re: canned food – some manufacturers have switched to BPA free can liners. The one I know about specifically is Eden Organic Foods (?exact name). They make great canned tomatoes.