From the Chat: BPA in Tomato Cans

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This question has been patiently submitted several times in the past six months.

Anonymous: Do you know of any brand of canned tomatoes that does not use bisphenol A in the can linings?

Joe Yonan: No.

BPA, used in the 1930s as a synthetic estrogen, is a component of plastic resins that can leach from can linings into food, especially during high-heat processing. Although studies have disagreed on the risk of consumption, some have shown effects in animals, including early puberty, increased risk for some cancers and altered behaviors, according to Gary Ginsberg, co-author of "What's Toxic, What's Not" (Berkley Books, 2006).

The Environmental Working Group has been surveying and lobbying manufacturers and suppliers about the BPA in their can linings, says senior analyst Sonya Lunder. She and Ginsberg say that the only company using an alternative, vegetable-based liner is Eden Organic, and that's just for beans.

Tomatoes are quite acidic, and that breaks down the vegetable-based liner, she and Ginsberg say. For tomato lovers who are concerned about BPA, the two say that the best option is to look for tomato products in glass jars, such as those made by Bionaturae, or in aseptic packaging, such as Pomi brand.

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