Buyer Beware: Report on prevalence of controversial BPA used in lining of canned foods
BALTIMORE (WBFF) -- As some food companies are shifting from Bisphenol A (known as BPA), the controversial chemical used in food packaging, a new study suggests it is still prevalent in canned food.
The non-profit groups that prepared the report, titled 'Buyer Beware,' tested the linings and lids of 192 food cans and found that two-thirds of them - 129 cans - contained BPA, including major brands like Del Monte, General Mills and Campbell's.
Campbell Soup Company announced earlier this week that it would complete the transition away from BPA-lined cans by the middle of 2017.
The report also examined cans that claimed to be BPA-free but researchers said there is little information about the health effects of BPA substitutes. The chemical has been linked to a variety of health problems including cancer, infertility and developmental disorders.
The FDA, which banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, maintains on its website that the chemical is still safe "for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging."
Emily Scarr, the Director of The Maryland Public Interest Research Group, said the main concern has been BPA leaching from food can liners into the food itself.
"I think most of us expect the food we buy should be safe," said Scarr. "That's a valid expectation that cans shouldn't be putting our health at risk."
The North American Metal Packaging Alliance, which represents the nation's canning industry, maintains that can linings are still safe.
"What the report fails to reference is the critical question of why companies would continue to use these coatings at all given the current negative rhetoric on BPA," said NAMPA Chairman Dr. John Rost. "It is because epoxy linings have provided a near perfect food protection system for close to 40 years and continue to do so today."
Some retailers, according to the report, have been making progress. Whole Foods has adopted the strongest policy against BPA, the report said.
The report encourages consumers to choose fresh and frozen food along with only buying canned food from retailers and manufacturers that fully disclose the safety of their can linings.