So we think that canned food is safe to eat? The government says it’s OK, right? So it must be safe. Well… maybe think again.
That chicken noodle soup that we give our kids when they are sick? Look at the ingredients – Chicken stock, enriched egg noodles (wheat flour, egg solids, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine, mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), cooked chicken meat, water, contains less than 2% of the following ingredients: salt, chicken fat, cooked mechanically separated chicken, monosodium glutamate, cornstarch, onion powder, modified food starch, yeast extract, spice extract, soy protein isolate, sodium phosphates, beta carotene for color, chicken flavor (contains chicken stock, chicken powder, chicken fat), flavoring, dehydrated garlic.[i] I put into italics the ingredients which would never appear in homemade soups.
Of course, the list of ingredients does not mention the BPA which is also present in the soup. BPA linked to heart disease, cancer and diabetes[ii] – three of the most common chronic illnesses seen so far in the 21st century.
A study recently published in JAMA reports BPA concentrations in urine of people who ingested 5 different varieties (Progresso brand) of vegetarian canned soups for 5 days, and then fresh soups (no canned ingredients) for 5 days – same soups, same ingredients, no other dietary restrictions.
BPA was present in the urine of 77% of those who ate fresh soups and 100% of those who ate canned soups. And those who ate canned soups had over 20 times the amount of BPA as those who ate fresh soups. The increase in urinary BPA from the fresh soup week to the canned soup week was over 1200 percent.
The BPA is produced as a byproduct from the epoxy resin linings of the cans, used to prevent corrosion.
So… what does this mean for us?
We can choose alternative packaging. A 2009 Consumer Reports article[iii] found that plastic containers and/or bags of the same foods tended to have less BPA than epoxy-resin coated cans. Even foods advertised as BPA free contained detectable levels of BPA.
We can insist that our government eliminate BPA from our foods. In Japan, BPA was eliminated in 1997, and urinary levels had dropped by 50% within 5 years.
Even better, we can choose fresh foods over canned foods. We can make that chicken noodle soup ourselves – using gluten-free noodles and free range chicken[iv]. We can be VERY careful what we feed our infants – fresh is better, organic is better. We can avoid all canned goods, until the linings are changed to something that does not produce BPA as a byproduct. We can let manufacturers know what we are doing. We can vote with our pocketbooks.
We have a choice.
[ii] Lang IA, Galloway TS, Scarlett A, et al. Association of urinary bisphenol A concentration with medical disorders and laboratory abnormalities in adults. JAMA. 2008;300(11):1303-1310.