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.