On March 30, 2012, the FDA rejected a petition to ban BPA from all food and drinking packaging, saying there was not enough scientific evidence to justify new restrictions. You are probably aware of the ongoing concern about BPA or bisphenol-A. The FDA states “Research has shown that people are exposed to BPA because small amounts can migrate into the food and beverages from their containers. Reports from some animal studies have raised potential concerns that BPA exposure may cause multiple health problems, including reproductive disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
This is an issue that we at jovial® have researched in depth during the development of three new tomato products that will soon be hitting the shelves at a store near you. Here is what we have learned.
- Canning began at the turn of the century and plastic linings were created during the 1960’s because metals can leach into the food from the can. Unlined cans are still used in Europe, but we tested tomatoes that were packed in an unlined can and found 38mg of tin in 28 oz. of tomatoes.
- Both cans and Tetra Pak are lined with thin plastic linings, although the lining of Tetra Pak (juice boxes, for example) does not contain BPA because it is a different type of plastic. Many manufacturers have started to use new linings for cans that do not contain BPA, a positive step in the right direction.
- It took many years for can manufacturers to test and develop new linings that did not contain BPA to ensure functionality. These new linings are called ‘Non-Intent’ because can manufacturers state that BPA has not been intentionally added to the lining. They say this because there is still the possibility of cross-contamination of trace amounts of BPA during the process of lining the sheets of metal because other lining material still containing BPA is used on shared equipment.
- Can linings are technically described as a water based polyester enamel, which in essence, is a paint that coats the can. It is difficult to understand just what is in the liner and whether or not other components might some day be considered harmful, even if BPA has been removed. We were unable to get a clear understanding of what has replaced BPA in the new liners.
- When tomatoes are packed in cans, the tomatoes are inserted in the can, the lid is sealed and the entire product is pasteurized in vats of very hot water. This means that the tomatoes are heated in the can while touching the plastic surface. This is concerning to us, as the FDA recommends that consumers who are concerned about BPA should ‘not put very hot or boiling liquid that you intend to consume in plastic containers made with BPA. BPA levels rise in food when containers/products made with the chemical are heated and come in contact with the food.’
- Glass is inert and therefore the safest packaging material in terms of protecting against potential migration of toxic substances from package to food.
- Glass has no added inner lining.
- Glass is made from all-natural, sustainable raw materials- sand, soda ash, limestone and recycled glass.
- Glass does not react with food and is the best packaging choice for preserving flavor because it does not alter the taste of the food inside.
- Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly with no loss in quality or purity in a closed loop cycle that does not create by-products.