#BPA Free: What’s the Correlation Between Organic and BPA Free Canned Food?

Bisphenol-A aka BPA is a synthetic hormone (a component of epoxy resin – eww! reminds me of glue) found in many food grade plastics, canned goods, and paper (like bank receipts), which  has been linked to illnesses such as cancer, developmental disabilities, heart disease, and more. Several studies have been conducted to determine levels in our bodies and conclusive evidence suggests that almost all people surveyed had some level of BPA in their system.

But what does the U. S. government consider a “safe level“? And how do we know what our level is?

From touching your ATM bank receipt to drinking from plastic water bottles and eating canned goods, you are exposing you and your family to this toxic chemical. Canned goods with a white lining or resin code 7 (inside the triangle) are suspect to BPA.

White can linings are likely to have Bisphenol-A, a resin that has been linked to numerous illnesses.

After reading more about BPA lined canned goods, I wondered if there is a correlation between government labeled “organic” brands and BPA free canned goods.

Some of my research findings below:

1. Don’t judge or trust a can by its label! Even though a canned food states it’s “BPA free” it is not always true – even organic brands.

2. Type of canned food, not always brand specific, contain inner linings with BPA. An organic or non-organic brand produces several types of food products, but only selected canned food products may or may not contain the toxic chemical.

3. Safe levels are outdated and inconclusive. One study in 2008 suggested that “0.0024 micrograms per kilogram of body weight” was a safe level for humans (study was done on lab animals), but that study’s results were tossed with the wind in 2009 since it probably contained skewed data from the plastics industry. (Concern over canned foods, Consumer Reports, 2009.)

4. Highest levels of BPA (parts per billion – ppb) were found in green beans and soup according to a Consumer Reports study. And Con-Agra (not by far organic!) was the worst offender for BPA levels.

5. Some, not all, organic brands use BPA free metal cans. Some brands include

  • Eden Foods (BPA free since 1997)
  • Muir Glen tomatoes
  • Amy’s (since 2012)
  • Some Trader Joe products
  • Whole Foods 365 canned goods (only 27% are BPA free)
  • Farmer’s Market Foods (canned pumpkin, pie fillings)
  • Annie’s
  • Earth’s Best Organic
  • Imagine

Download and print a free BPA Free Canned Food Pocket Guide from BPA Free Canned Good blog.

Alternatives to canned foods are fresh, frozen or dried varieties. Although plastic packaging for frozen foods are not always BPA free, the levels are likely much lower than those found in metal cans. Plastic containers that are “safe for the microwave use” likely have higher levels of BPA as well.

Best bet? Buy fresh and can food yourself in BPA free glass jars or freeze for future use. DO NOT heat reusable plastic food containers or those plastic microwave meals! You are more likely to get a higher dose of BPA in your food than using glass containers. And remove those plastic lids from glass containers before reheating too!

Did I miss a brand or health issue related to BPA? Please comment below, I’m always looking for more insight.

FDA Considers #BPA Ban on Canned Foods Although Not Proven Harmful to Humans

Bisphenol-A, BPA, used in many plastic food containers as well as food and beverage can linings is being investigated for a possible ban. The FDA is working under a March 31, 2012 court ordered deadline asking for a petition to regulate the banning of BPA when used in food containers. BPA, when used in canned goods, extends the life of the food/beverage in the container, however, it has come under scrutiny about its safety for human consumption.

Currently, there is no other alternative for preserving canned food and beverages that has been tested and safe for human consumption. Although several larger research studies have found that “under normal consumer use” there are no harmful effects of BPA on humans, there have been some studies on animals where BPA has had some negative effects.

Read the entire article on Forbes.com.

Personally, I still do not trust the coatings in many canned foods, however, I do still rely on many canned items for sustenance. I haven’t had the opportunity to begin canning my own foods yet either, but as far as safety goes, this may be the year I start.

#Plastic News: Biomass Packaging Adds Modular, Single-Serve Food Packaging Made from Ingeo

California’s Excellent Packaging adds crystal-clear modular, single-serve cold cups, lids to its line of compostable food service products; packaging is made entirely from NatureWorks’ PLA-based Ingeo biopolymer.

Source: PRWeb.com

California’s Excellent Packaging adds crystal-clear modular, single-serve cold cups, lids to its line of compostable foodservice products; packaging is made entirely from NatureWorks’ PLA-based Ingeo biopolymer.

RICHMOND, California, February 29, 2012 (press release) – BioMass Packaging®, a division of Excellent Packaging, an innovator and wholesale distributor of sustainable, biodegradable, and nature-based packaging for foodservice and other applications, has added modular, single-serve food containers, to its line of compostable foodservice solutions. Made entirely from NatureWorks® Ingeo biopolymer — a PLA-based material — the new Greenware® crystal-clear cold cups and lids transform a regular cup into a versatile food packaging carry-all, giving foodservice operators endless possibilities for merchandising breakfast foods, lunch combos, and all-day snacks.

Fresh and nutritious snack foods and small meals are increasingly popular with busy, on-the-go consumers, who expect to find appealing grab-and-go foods in their favorite coffee shop, convenience store, supermarket or hotel snack shop. Snacks and meals such as parfait+granola+fruit combos, fruit+yogurt, chips+salsa, and salad+croutons+dressing, are now easy to package and present with BioMass Packaging’s modular system, which consists of a basic cup, an insert with a secure lid, and either a flat or domed lid that snaps on tight.

“There has never before been a cup insert made from Ingeo, and this has prevented food service operators who use green and bio-based packaging from offering grab-and-go combinations to their customers. Now, they can increase profitability while meeting their commitment to sustainability,” said Allen King, president of California-based Excellent Packaging, the exclusive North American distributor of the new cups and inserts. “What’s great about this modular system is that it can be used to present foods that need to be combined just before eating, in a convenient, sustainable, nature-based package. This attractive packaging solution delivers a really eye-catching food presentation — we think it’s going to be a huge hit with hotels, delis, coffee shops and supermarkets.”

An executive chef at a five-star hotel in Truckee, California, that is piloting the new cups, inserts and domed lids, sees their potential for broadening the hotel’s range of foods. “The customers at our casual dining restaurant are often looking for a quick and nutritious meal they can grab without sitting down for table service, or to consume later. We’re now offering parfaits in this new packaging, and if these are successful, we expect to expand to include salads, fruits and cheeses. Being in Lake Tahoe, guests expect us to use environmentally friendly packaging, and this was a key criterion when we selected these cups.”

Flexible system addresses the needs of any food service operation:
■ Up to three different ingredients can be offered in one grab-and-go format
■ Cup insert works with multiple cup and lid sizes to enable endless menu options
■ The insert may be flush-filled and covered with a flat lid, or covered with a dome lid that can also be filled with a meal ingredient
■ Inserts are suitable for heat sealing with most cup sizes
■ Custom notch design allows for easy insert removal
■ Compostable – every element of the packaging is made from plant-based Ingeo PLA plastic.

Presentation and availability
The new Ingeo-based cups and inserts are sold in cases of 1,000 units and are available for immediate delivery. They can be ordered wholesale direct from Excellent Packaging or from the company’s BiomassPackagingStore.com online store. To learn more about the comprehensive range of bio-based, sustainable foodservice packaging products offered by Excellent Packaging, or to enquire about volume pricing, call (800) 317-2737 or email sales@excellentpackaging.com. A PDF-format brochure is available online.

About BioMass Packaging
BioMass Packaging (http://www.biomasspackaging.com) specializes in offering sustainable packaging solutions for foodservice operators that want to reduce their impact on the environment. The company is a division of Excellent Packaging (http://www.excellentpackaging.com), a wholesale distribution company that specializes in nature-based packaging for foodservice and other applications. Excellent Packaging brings decades of experience to research, source and deliver custom bio-based and traditional packaging and foodservice products that enable companies to integrate sustainable foodservice solutions into their business. Follow us on Facebook (BioMassPackaging) and Twitter (@BioMassPackage).

Recycle 6 Pack Plastic Rings into Useful Tote

I am looking for directions how to make a bag out of 6 pack plastic rings like those on soda and beer. I know I have seen someone do this, but can’t remember what is used to hold the rings together and how to make the handle.

If you have a link or directions, I’d appreciate it…I will post here so my readers can use it too.

Don’t want have the creative flair to make a recycled craft from plastic soda rings? Then do be kind to animals, and cut through all the circles to prevent turtles and other animals from becoming caught in them or thinking they are food and choking them. See a video here about deformed turtles caught in plastic rings.

In the meantime, I came across a few helpful recycled craft links.

My suggestions for recycled crafts – recycle it, don’t trash it!

My Recycled Bags

Ways to Reuse Plastic Rings from eHow

6 Pack Ring Chandeliers and Snowflakes from Pakit Products


Plastic Food Storage Bags Recyclable?

Struggling with cutting down or eliminating reusable plastic? I stopped using plastic wrap a few years ago; however, I still haven’t kicked the reclosable plastic food storage bags.  I often buy the ziplock bags so I can wash and reuse them a few times to maximize their use and reduce waste.

How often do you use reclosable sandwich or freezer storage bags?

Feeling guilty by throwing away plastic storage bags, I only use them when I don’t have another option such as a glass food storage container. So, a package of 25 sandwich bags will last me about a month or two and even a box of 15 quart sized freezer bags will last at least a month or longer if I can wash and reuse them.

But can you recycle reclosable food storage bags?

Answer: Yes!


Oftentimes grocery stores will have plastic grocery bag recycling bins outside that will also accept clean reclosable plastic bags. Some municipalities will also accept clean food storage bags. Still not sure? Check out this PlasticBagRecycling.org

Comment about your use of plastic food storage bags or someone you know. Do they have other uses besides food? I’d love to share your ideas with my readers!

FAQ: Is Tupperware BPA Free? Part 2

This is Part 2 of a 2 part blog discussing frequently asked question about BPA free Tupperware plastic food containers.

Tupperware created a video discussing the harmful effects and government initiatives (in Canada and Britain, I believe). Watch this video and leave a comment on your thoughts about Tupperware’s sustainability and environmental initiatives.

Read FAQ: Is Tupperware BPA Free Part 1.

#BPA Free Leftovers: Glass Food Containers are Safer

Thanksgiving is over, but you probably still have plenty of leftovers to store or giveaway. Don’t run to your cupboards too quickly to store leftovers in those whipped topping and yogurt containers. Commercial food containers, especially those that contain dairy products are not good for reuse. Look at the bottom of the container and you are more likely to find a number 5 in the center of the triangle. Remember resin code 5 is not the safest plastic for storing food.

Some Rubbermaid and Tupperware plastic food containers are BPA free, but older versions are not. What’s the best way to store leftover food?


Glass food storage containers (with or without plastic lids) do not contain BPA (bisphenol-A), and are the safest way to store, freeze and reheat leftovers whether it’s from a big feast like Thanksgiving or today’s dinner. Opt for various sized containers from 1/2 cup to 3 cups or more. Rubbermaid and Anchor Hocking both have various sized glass containers with several lid color choices. One year for Christmas I received 3 sets of small to medium sized round glass storage containers, and they are still good today for freezing, reheating and stacking too. I use them in my lunches and when we travel – they are not much heavier than the old plastic ones either!

The safest way to clean plastic lids for glass food storage is hand-washing, however, some package sets do state it’s safe to wash plastic lids in your dishwasher. Ensure you read whether the lid is BPA free or not, so you know if you can use the lid in your microwave.


#BPA Free Thanksgiving: Avoid Canned Foods

Harmful Bisphenol-A Found in Many Canned Foods

I know many of you have probably already hit the grocery aisles for canned pumpkin, cranberry sauce, corn and more; however, there is a new report from the Breast Cancer Fund that states:

“tremendous variability in BPA levels in the canned foods we tested…consumers have no way of knowing how much BPA is in the canned food they’re buying and consuming.”

Canned Foods Do Contain BPA (not all cans in picture contain BPA).

Not only do certain kinds of plastics contain the harmful chemical BPA, but also the lining in many canned foods. The lining is more like a protective layer between the aluminum or steel and the food; however, different types of foods have different amounts of BPA within the linings, so as you open the 4 cans of creamed corn and 3 cans of green beans in preparation for casseroles, you could be ingesting higher levels of BPA without ever knowing it.

The Breast Cancer Fund’s goal is for food manufacturers to seek safer alternatives. BPA has been linked to breast cancer as well as several other health conditions found in food packaging and plastic food containers. Support the Cans Not Cancer campaign, and do your part by buying less canned food this holiday season (and throughout the year).

Canned Food Alternatives for Thanksgiving

1. Buy fresh local produce. You will be supporting local farmers and growers and have peace of mind that you’re giving back to your community.

2. Buy food in alternative packages. Choose frozen corn kernels and green beans for traditional Thanksgiving casseroles. Choose fresh mushrooms instead of canned and Tetra Pak cartons for vegetable stock and cream.

3. Plan other side dishes not made with canned food. Start preparing side dishes the day before and make them from scratch. Ask other friends or family members to help out or bring a dish to share.

Remember, just because it’s not listed as an ingredient or a warning on the label doesn’t mean BPA is not in your food. Be safe, be healthy and Happy Thanksgiving!

BPA FAQ: Which Plastic Food Containers are BPA Free?

Lately, I’ve been receiving numerous questions about which plastics contain BPA and which do not. I’d like to address 3 general tips about determining which plastics are BPA free.

BPA Questions

Lately, I’ve been receiving numerous questions about which plastics contain BPA and which do not. I’d like to address some general tips about determining which plastics are BPA free.

1. Check labels. Just as you check labels for salt, sugar and fat content, check the bottoms of plastic food containers for the resin code (number within the recycle symbol). Those plastic containers most likely to contain BPA are #3, 6 & 7. (Read more info about plastic resin codes here.) Also, check tags on products designed to be used with food such as coffee makers, plastic storage containers, blenders, coffee grinders, microwave ovens, etc. Oftentimes, these products will include a tag or label that designates the item as “BPA free.” If it doesn’t explicitly state that it is BPA free, then I’d suggest buy another brand.

2. No resin codes. Older plastic food containers such as those from Tupperware, Rubbermaid and others may not have a resin code on the bottom. Tupperware has included an informative page on their website indicating which product lines are specifically BPA free. Contact the company/manufacturer directly if you’re unsure of BPA content. I use older Tupperware containers to hold non-food items since they are not recycle-friendly.

3. Plastics to avoid. BPA (biphensol-A) commonly found in plastic food containers, packaging, household products and other plastic items is more harmful if used in plastic food containers. Avoid any plastic product that is used with food to lessen your exposure to this harmful chemical. Do not heat plastic containers in the microwave or use food containers that have scratches; these could potentially leach BPA into your food as well.

Questions? Ask here and I will attempt to answer or direct you to the answer.

Alternative Plastic BPA Free Water Bottles Safe from Chemical?

I’ve switched to aluminum and steel water bottles over the last few years. I even stopped buying bottled water 3 years ago to reduce our exposure to the harmful chemical, BPA. I only buy water or other drinks in plastic bottles while we are traveling and keep them in a cooler so that it lessens our exposure to BPA.

However, it seems that we still run the risk of exposure to BPA even with alternatives to plastic water bottles. This is an excerpt from Physorg, where you can read the article in its entirety.

Prompted by requests and concern from consumers, University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers wanted to see if these alternatives–including products made with stainless steel and coated aluminum–were truly giving the consumer an option free of BPA.

In a study reported in the July 8, 2011 advance online edition of the journal , Scott Belcher, PhD, associate professor in the pharmacology and cell biophysics department, and colleagues found that stainless steel- and/or co-polyester lined-aluminum did not release BPA; however, aluminum bottles lined with epoxy-based resins still resulted in BPA contamination of liquids.

“BPA is an ever-present, high-volume industrial chemical that is an estrogen and an environmental endocrine disrupting chemical,” explains Belcher, adding that it has been shown in experimental models to negatively impact the heart and and enhance the growth of certain tumors.

“It is used extensively in the production of consumer goods, polycarbonate plastics, in that are used to coat metallic food and beverage cans and in other products,” he continues. “There is great concern regarding the possible harmful effects from exposures that result from BPA leaching into foods and beverages from packaging or storage containers.