Pioneer of BPA, BPS, and phthalate Free Food Cans, and Cause of Change in the Can Industry – Eden Foods
BPA Free Cans Before Anyone Heard of It
In 1997 Eden Foods became aware of German reports concerning BPA’s toxicity and its prevalence in our lives; in cash register receipts, food packaging, and thousands of household items. Eden Foods immediately took steps to completely avoid BPA.
After two years of persistent work with can manufacturers we acquired a BPA free can. From April of 1999 up until late 2016, EDEN Beans featured a custom-made can lined with a 1960’s vintage oleoresin c-enamel that did not contain the toxin BPA. Oleoresin is a mixture of oil and plant resin extracted from pine or balsam fir trees. In 2017, Eden Foods transitioned to an improved, non-toxic, can lining that works for both low (beans) and high acid (tomato) food items.
Eden Foods’ initial contact with U.S. can manufacturers about BPA received the same response from them all, we were requesting proprietary, trade secret information and that could not be shared with us. They also cited numerous government “studies” demonstrating the safety of BPA.
Smoke and Mirrors Spin
“I was flabbergasted. Legally, I had no right to know any specifics about the can lining we were purchasing. I had no right to know as a food manufacturer, a consumer, or as a parent and grandparent,” said Eden Foods’ president. Persistent Eden attempts to get urgently needed information was pursued continually for two years. At about 20 months, Mr. Potter was told a Mr. so-and-so of a Washington D.C. law firm was awaiting his phone call. He made that call and was connected to an attorney for the American Canning Association who bluntly told him that answers to the questions being sought were federally protected trade secrets and proprietary information. Eden Foods could get no answers to its specific, basic, logical questions about the food contact surfaces of the cans we were buying. Can manufacturer personnel would only provide vague answers and “half information and half answers.” They were all in lockstep touting government and industry reports about the safety of BPA, pointing to federal laws about proprietary information and trade secrets. Eventually one can supplier, the Ball Corporation, realized that Eden Foods and this issue were not going to go away. They somewhat changed their tone. Although they did not disclose the chemistry specifics Eden sought, they began to educate Eden on the complex chemistry involved, and how this led to BPA being in the can linings.
Eden Foods asked Ball Corporation the logical question, “What did you use before this BPA containing can lining?” “A vegetable resin enamel was previously used,” they said. Naturally, Eden asked if it was possible to get cans using that enamel lining, and if so, what the cost of it might be. Eventually they answered, “Yes,” but the cost was going to be a great deal higher. Eden agreed to pay the higher price for BPA free cans. Eden Foods knew that this was not a numbers issue, but a moral, ethical, and paternal one. We were feeding this food to our children.
Fairly recently, Eden Foods began to indicate on its canned bean, rice & bean, refried bean, chili, and tomato labels that the cans used were BPA, BPS and phthalate free. Because, only recently would anyone seeing that have any idea what it meant. Recent public awareness of BPA, BPS, and phthalate toxins being linked to a long list of deleterious effects, including cancer, immunity compromise, reproductive abnormalities, infertility, metabolic disorders, diabetes, obesity, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) had reached a point where talking about it made sense.
BPA Free Amber Glass Jars
Although Eden successfully achieved a BPA free can for low acid food like beans, there were no suitable cans for high acid food such as tomatoes at that time. After an enormous effort to cause a high acid BPA free can lining, in frustration Eden chose to move EDEN Canned Tomatoes into amber glass jars to avoid BPA. This happened in 2011. The cans still had an r-enamel until late 2016. Due to the acids in tomatoes, the lining was epoxy based and contained BPA. The amount of BPA in those cans was in the ‘non-detectable’ range tested at a detection level of 5 ppb (parts per billion). Eden Foods’ goal was zero.
A search for a lid for the glass jars again confirmed, “There is no such thing as the perfect food package.” Regardless, Eden found the best solution available. The inside of the twist cap has two coats of sealer between the food and the metal of the cap. The first applied coating has a small (undetectable) amount of BPA. The second protective white sealant over the metal does not contain any BPA and isolates the first coating from contact with the contents of the jar.
High & Low-Acid BPA, BPS, & Phthalate Free Lining Achieved
Eden was certain that competent chemists could solve the BPA lining problem, but people needed to demand it. Recently, a public outcry arose demanding toxic-free food packaging. The canning industry finally responded creating BPA, BPS, and phthalate-free can linings that are suitable for both high and low acid foods.
In late 2016, Eden Foods expanded its BPA, BPS, and phthalate-free cans to include tomatoes and other high acid foods by transitioning to an updated lining. The new can lining, now used for both high and low acid foods, is the safest available. It is BPA, BPS, and phthalate-free as confirmed by Eden’s tests and Ball Corporation. Eden is confident that it is the best can lining and safe.
13 February 1993
Dear EDEN Patron,
The trend to commercialize genetically engineered food compels Eden Foods to assure you that we will not support or participate in this movement away from natural foods as they are manifest by Nature.
Please let this letter serve as our affidavit and your assurance that Eden Foods will not purchase or sell any food or food ingredient known to be genetically engineered, and that we will act to best ensure our avoidance of such.
You can depend upon Eden Foods to be diligent in avoiding any aspect of the commercialization of genetically engineered food. We object to the introduction of these foods for human consumption in any manner, for any reason. We are fundamentally opposed to these foods for moral, ethical, and practical reasons.
With more than twenty-four years in the natural foods industry, I remain unaware of any other food company that spends a greater percentage of its time or money to be certain of the growing, ingredients, and processing used for foods carrying its brand name.
Very truly yours,
Michael J. Potter
Chairman and President
Assurance - GMO Free Since 1993
Foreseeing the commercialization of genetically engineered food, we established a policy against genetically engineered organisms (GEOs) and their derivatives in food, beginning with the letter above in 1993. Since then we have remained diligent in doing all that is necessary - and beyond - to keep EDEN food GEO free.
Eden’s GMO free assurance is made possible by -
- Knowing the land, our growers and their families, and suppliers
- Maintaining traditional, natural methods in food handling and processing, with no shortcuts
- Thorough audit trails and meticulous record keeping for each food item
- In house and third party GMO testing programs
- In 1998 the New York Times hired a laboratory to test for GMOs in eleven soy and corn based foods, and the only one that tested negative (GMO free) was EDENSOY soymilk.
Because soybeans are the second most prevalent genetically engineered crop in America (next to corn), Eden and our affiliates have evolved an exacting system to make sure that all of the soybeans in EDENSOY soymilk remain GMO free.
From seed to final product, here are the steps we take -
- American Soy Products (ASP), our affiliate company and the certified organic maker of EDENSOY, manages all of the organic soybean seed stock that our growers use.
- We submit “foundation seed” that is certified IP (identity preserved) and produced specifically to be GMO-free to an independent laboratory for PCR third party testing before planting as an organic seed crop.
- We contract with a single, certified organic farm in Northern Michigan to grow this foundation seed into certified organic seed stock. We have worked with this grower for 30 years.
- Before we distribute the certified organic seed to our growers, seed samples from every bag of seed (composite samples) are again PCR tested.
- The audit trail that precedes each seed shipment to our growers includes the following documents: Organic Certification, independent GMO/PCR test results, Certified Seed documentation (Michigan Crop Improvement Association's seed quality & inspection certificate), and Affidavit of Non-GMO variety.
- At the time of harvest, each grower sends a two pound sample of each variety of soybean they've grown that season to ASP, which conducts quality assurance analysis and in house GMO testing.
- If the sample meets ASP's quality standards, tests negative for GMOs, and ASP has received current year certification from the grower for his/her soybean crop the sampling records (showing GMO-free test strip results) are forwarded to the certified organic elevator that handle our soybeans, and ASP approves the grower to deliver his crop to the elevator.
- Upon delivery of a truck of soybeans at the elevator, the grower (or transporter) provides a “clean truck affidavit.”
- A two pound “GIPSA probe composite sample” is then taken from each delivery. The elevator performs a parallel quality analysis and GMO strip test on each of these samples.
- If the sample again meets our quality standards and tests negative for GMOs, the load of organic soybeans is accepted for delivery. The GMO strip test is attached to the retained log of growers' deliveries. These records are sent to ASP after all contracted soybeans have been delivered.
- The accepted organic soybeans are stored in dedicated organic bins at each elevator until requested for delivery by ASP.
- All of the above steps are taken in concert with organic certification procedures. Our organic certifier (PDF) oversees the entire program and evaluates our records.
- Genetic pollution is the bad news. The good news is we have continued to create and refine systems to ensure that every EDEN food is GMO free. These steps are not easy, but they are the only way to ensure what everyone deserves: freedom from the genetically engineered food experiment.
Call for a Global Moratorium on Genetically Engineered Food
The technology of Genetic Engineering (GE) is the practice of altering or disrupting the genetic blueprints of living organisms-plants, trees, fish, animals, humans, and microorganisms. This technology is wielded by transnational “life science” corporations such as Monsanto and Aventis, who patent these blueprints, and sell the resulting gene-foods, seeds, or other products for profit. Life science corporations proclaim that their new products will make agriculture sustainable, eliminate world hunger, cure disease, and vastly improve public health. However, these gene engineers have made it clear, through their business practices and political lobbying, that they intend to use GE to monopolize the global market for seeds, foods, fiber, and medical products. GE is a revolutionary new technology that is still in its early experimental stages of development. This technology has the power to break down the natural genetic barriers-not only between species-but between humans, animals, and plants. Randomly inserting together the genes of non-related species-utilizing viruses, antibiotic-resistant genes, and bacteria as vectors, markers, and promoters-permanently alters their genetic codes.
The gene-altered organisms that are created pass these genetic changes onto their offspring through heredity. Gene engineers all over the world are now snipping, inserting, recombining, rearranging, editing, and programming genetic material. Animal genes and even human genes are randomly inserted into the chromosomes of plants, fish, and animals, creating heretofore unimaginable transgenic life forms. For the first time in history, transnational biotechnology corporations are becoming the architects and “owners” of life.
With little or no regulatory restraints, labeling requirements, or scientific protocol, bio-engineers have begun creating hundreds of new GE “Frankenfoods” and crops. The research is done with little concern for the human and environmental hazards and the negative socioeconomic impacts on the world's several billion farmers and rural villagers. An increasing number of scientists are warning that current gene-splicing techniques are crude, inexact, and unpredictable-and therefore inherently dangerous. Yet, pro-biotech governments and regulatory agencies, led by the US, maintain that GE foods and crops are “substantially equivalent” to conventional foods, and therefore require neither mandatory labeling nor pre-market safety-testing.
This Brave New World of Frankenfoods is frightening. There are currently more than four dozen GE foods and crops being grown or sold in the US. These foods and crops are widely dispersed into the food chain and the environment. Over 80 million acres of GE crops are presently under cultivation in the US, while up to 750,000 dairy cows are being injected regularly with Monsanto's recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). Most supermarket processed food items now “test positive” for the presence of GE ingredients. In addition, several dozen more GE crops are in the final stages of development and will soon be released into the environment and sold in the marketplace. The “hidden menu” of these unlabeled GE foods and food ingredients in the US now includes soybeans, soy oil, corn, potatoes, squash, canola oil, cottonseed oil, papaya, tomatoes, and dairy products.
GE food and fiber products are inherently unpredictable and dangerous-for humans, for animals, the environment, and for the future of sustainable and organic agriculture. As Dr. Michael Antoniou, a British molecular scientist points out, gene-splicing has already resulted in the “unexpected production of toxic substances... in genetically engineered bacteria, yeast, plants, and animals with the problem remaining undetected until a major health hazard has arisen.” The hazards of GE foods and crops fall into three categories: human health hazards, environmental hazards, and socio-economic hazards. A brief look at the already-proven and likely hazards of GE products provides a convincing argument for why we need a global moratorium on all GE foods and crops.
by Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers Association. Full article