Another Reason to Preserve Food at Home

Maybe you’ve replaced your old plastic water bottle with a stainless-steel one to avoid exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical linked to reproductive abnormalities and increased risks of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. But did you know you could be ingesting BPA through commercially canned food? BPA is a component of the epoxy resin that has long been used to line metal food cans. Consumer Reports (December 2009) tested for BPA in 19 name-brand canned foods—soups, juice, tuna, corn, chili, tomato sauce, corned beef, and green beans—and found the chemical in all of them. Organic brands didn’t necessarily have less than nonorganic brands, and even cans labeled “BPA-free” contained the chemical. The highest levels were in green beans, vegetable soup, and chicken-noodle soup. “A 165-pound adult eating one serving of canned green beans from our sample . . . could ingest about 0.2 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight per day, about 80 times higher than our experts’ recommended daily upper limit,” the magazine reports. FDA guidelines allow a much higher daily exposure, 50 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight. According to a congressional subcommittee, however, the FDA has relied too heavily on studies sponsored by the plastics industry and should re-evaluate BPA’s safety. Aren’t you glad you get most of your “canned” foods out of glass jars?

July 15, 2010: Some weeks after writing the preceding paragraph I learned that the notorious BPA is also used to line the flat lids of mason jars. While Jardin (the owner of Ball, Kerr, and Bernardin) works on developing an alternative liner, home canners don’t need to worry: As long as we store our jars upright, the food inside will never come in contact with the lid.

About Linda Ziedrich

I grow, cook, preserve, and write about food in Oregon's Willamette Valley.
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3 Responses to Another Reason to Preserve Food at Home

  1. Holly Dumont says:

    Because the EU does not allow BPA in canning lids, you can buy Italian “Quattro Stagioni” or German “Leifheit” lids and not worry about your homemade canning getting contaminated with BPA. I often mail my canned goods to other family members… surely it went upside and sideways it’s entire journey. I think the one piece Italian lids are wonderful. The Leifheit’s are bullet proof. Unlike the Ball lids, the rings don’t rust.

  2. wentworth says:

    @Holly. I dont know anything about the EU regulations, but from my extensive googling ive read the Leifeheit jars are not bpa free. One person actually contacted Leifheit and was initially told they were bpa free and then upon calling again to check were told the opposite. Heres a link to that article inparticular:
    http://whatdidshedotoday.typepad.com/what_did_she_do_today/2010/01/she-voiced-her-desire-for-bpa-free-canning-jar-lids-january-15-2009.html

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