Un-Canny: What’s the “Instead of” for BPA?

Andy Warhol, Campbell's Soup I, 1968.

Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup I, 1968. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Looks like I’m not the only one wondering exactly what food packaging suppliers are using in cans and bottle lids if they are NOT using BPA.

The good people over at Healthy Child, Healthy World are also all over the issue, running a great social media campaign focusing on the iconic Campbell’s company. Andy Warhol would be most proud. Or not. He could be a little catty, so I suppose it’s hard to say.

Anyhoo, back to the issue of what’s in our food. As they say, some of the alternatives are no better, and could even be worse, than Bisphenol-A (BPA) for can linings:

There are a few alternatives to BPA that aren’t any better for our health. BPS, a “chemical cousin” of BPA is not a safer alternative…

The notoriously bad plastic PVC is an FDA-approved alternative for BPA in can linings, despite the fact that vinyl chloride is a known human carcinogen.

There’s that vinyl again. As I noted in my recipe for coconut couscous, I remain concerned that Native Forestbrand has not responded to my emails asking them what is the BPA substitute they are using for can linings. If it’s vinyl, it could be worse than BPA. I’ll be very keen to get their response, as we like cooking with coconut milk.
What to do about all this? Raising consumer awareness is the first big step towards change and accountability. Here’s the social media suggestions from Healthy Child, Healthy World:
Here are sample tweets you can use on Twitter or Facebook. And be sure to look at the Healthy Child Healthy World Facebook page for updates! Please share this action with your friends and family!
And here’s a link to Campbell’s Facebook page, which would be a great place to post similar messages!

7 thoughts on “Un-Canny: What’s the “Instead of” for BPA?

  1. for months i would buy around five boxes of Lakewood organic juice only to become suspicious of their food liner. they claim it is bpa free on their website, but when i emailed and asked them if it contained PVC they flat out ignored me and gave me an automated ‘bpa free’ reply. same thing happened when i emailed YS organics about their honey in the glass jar with a metal lid (the honey isn’t great, anyway.) now i’m freaking out about how much of that juice i consumed, and i still have two boxes left that i don’t know what to do with.

    by the way, you can make your own coconut milk by buying shredded coconut. it’s pretty simple. you just need a blender, mesh strainer or cheesecloth and water.

    http://www.freecoconutrecipes.com/index.cfm/2009/12/11/homemade-coconut-milk shows one way. it’s the same for making soy milk, or any milk. you can do it with nuts like almonds, too.

    i’m so bummed about lakewood, though. i’ll have to start buying from fruitshare for organic fruit and make my own juice.

    by the way, i found your blog when i got curious and looked up ‘plastisol’ when a company told me their liners are made of ‘plastisol.’ there’s very little information out there about plastisol, so i’m glad someone is making my research easier to do!

    • Hi Mia! Welcome — you might also check the post on tomato sauce — My Fruitless Search, I think it starts, and another post on BPA — 8 Days to a Brand New (BPA-Free) You. Depressing, right? We’re all swimming in plastic, like it or not! Thanks so much for the great tip on making coconut milk — can’t wait to try it! Best, Laura

  2. Laura, thanks for the great information. Have you done any columns on baby bottles? I’m concerned because we will have a new baby in the family come September. Thank you for all your hard work.

    • Hi Suzanne! Congratulations on your pending arrival! The page on baby and toddler stuff, here: https://laurasrules.org/2012/05/20/at-long-last-my-greener-healthier-baby-and-toddler-supply-guide/ — includes a link to many things that might interest you, including some basic glass bottles, which is what we used. They are fine with a baby, and Maya has never broken them. While it’s true that they did break a few times when I dropped them onto tile, using and replacing glass was well worth it in terms of being able to put the bottles into the dishwasher without any concerns. I’m also about to post a piece on better sippy cups, so stay tuned for that! All best, Laura

  3. HI Laura–Are tetra-pak boxes any better than cans? I have no idea. If they are, you can get coconut milk in boxes. I found some at Trader Joe’s with the other boxes of non-dairy milks.

    • Hi there, I tried to look at this issue in the post on tomato sauce — “seeing red” — it comes down to whether potentially leaching polyethylene in direct contact with fatty/sweet/acidic food is safe. Still, you’re right that it might be safer than a can if they are using vinyl! Thanks for the tip! All best, Laura

  4. Hi Laura–I don’t know if tetra-pak boxes are any better than cans, but if they are, you can get coconut milk in them. I recently found coconut milk with the other boxes of non-dairy milks at Trader Joe’s.

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