Do BPA-free Canned or Jarred Tomatoes Exist?

BPA-Free-CansUPDATE 1/20/11 (see below)

Is it possible to enjoy pre-prepared tomatoes without BPA?

So far we’ve come up empty-handed in searching for BPA-free tomatoes.  In fact, Eden Organic is the only company currently using a BPA-free lining for their any canned foods in the U.S. – and even they haven’t quite perfected a sturdy enough lining to withstand the acidity of tomatoes.    Eden Organic Beans are packed in steel cans coated with a baked on oleoresinous c-enamel lining that does not contain BPA (oleoresin is a natural mixture of an oil and a resin extracted from various plants, such as pine or balsam fir).

Only one country in the world has drastically reduced the use of BPA (in their cans and other food packaging), and that’s Japan.  Between 1998 and 2003, Japan removed the standard BPA epoxy found in aluminum cans and replaced it with it with PET film lamination on the inner surface of cans.  They also used an EXR paint that had much less BPA migration into food when necessary.  Following their reduction and replacement moves, a team of assessors claim that virtually no BPA is found in canned foods and drinks in Japan now.

So where does that leave us right now?

For now we don’t have the luxury of running to the store to grab pre-prepared tomatoes, because even BPA-free glass jars are capped with aluminum lids lined with BPA.  Utne.com recently discussed an article from the Winter 2009-2010 edition of Organic Gardening. The magazine asked endocrine-disruptor expert, Frederick vom Saal, about the potential health hazards of BPA-lined glass jar lids.  He suggested that if the lid doesn’t contact the food, it’s not a problem, but because that’s unlikely to be the case, he recommends using a BPA-free product.

The only option for truly BPA-free tomatoes is to can them yourself for off-season months – and there are only two possibilities available:

Our recommendation until BPA is removed

Canning tomatoes isn’t possible for many of us, so we’ll just have to prioritize while we wait for the very slow FDA to make a move.  We recommend you eat fresh if possible and choose glass jars when necessary for a lower exposure to BPA.

UPDATE 1/14/10:  We finally confirmed some BPA-free tomato options thanks to our awesome blog reader’s suggestions!  Read about it here.

UPDATE 1/20/11: Eden Foods Finds a Better Solution to BPA-lined Cans for Tomatoes and Sauces

P.S. This was yet another great Skribit suggestion from our readers!  Looking for something else?  Let us know by leaving your own suggestion on the right-hand side of our blog —->>>>

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Alicia Voorhies is a Registered Nurse who decided to take a break to relax and enjoy her young kids after 13 years of working with disabled adults. She began to explore the world of alternative health ideas and was immediately attracted to the mysteries of endocrine disruptors and their effect on children. In 2007 she founded The Soft Landing along with her mom and sisters to help parents provide a safe, natural home for their children without drowning in an overwhelming sea of information.

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  • greenandcleanmom

    Um, I'm not so sure about canning but I know many people that are starting to get back into doing this for the BPA reason and to eat fresh food year around and save money!

    I guess I'll have to wait but bummer.

  • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

    I hear you, Sommer! There won't be any canning in my part of the world either. It really stinks that we have absolutely no BPA-free tomato options . . .

  • Joyce

    Pomi tomatoes come in a box – I believe that's BPA-free.

  • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

    Oh my gosh – you're probably right, Joyce! Every Tetra Pak product we've checked on so far have been BPA-free. We'll contact them soon to confirm. I'll be curious to know if the acidity of tomatoes makes a difference in the package lining they use?

    Thanks so much for pointing Pomi Tomatoes out!

  • tryingtobegreener

    Yes, I was going to suggest Pomi as well!

  • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

    I'm so happy to learn about Pomi as a possible option! We don't seem to have them around here, so I hadn't heard of them. Thanks, Kirsten :)

  • valerielecoeur

    You can try Pomi, they are packed in Tetra Pack http://www.pennmac.com. It is a good alternative

  • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

    Thanks, Valerie! I think our next move is to speak with the makers of Pomi brand tomatoes to confirm that their Tetra Pak cartons don't require a special lining which may contain BPA because of tomato's high acidity.

  • Emilee

    Good post thanks! Why do you all say no canning…It really isn't that hard ;)

    http://www.recipetips.com/kitchen-tips/t–1293/

    tetra paks aren't really a “better” solution either, because A. they can't be recycled and I doubt are biodegradable….also what other chemicals ARE in them? Because there are many layers in their cartons….I'd love to see more info about the tetra pak containers.

  • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

    Great points all around, Emilee. We're looking into those other chemical possibilities and will be anxious to learn more about Tetra Pak. It's being used in so many products now – broth, juice, soups, rice milk, etc.

  • Alicia

    Check out Bionaturae brand – I've seen them at Whole Foods. You can get strained tomatoes and tomato paste in glass. I just wish the diced came in glass too.

    http://www.bionaturae.com/tomato.html

  • http://www.savorra.com/ Jamie

    I am also very concerned about the lack of BPA-free cans and I am tired of waiting for the FDA to act. I'm starting an email campaign to Whole Foods, encouraging them to stop selling canned goods with BPA. If Eden Foods can sell beans in BPA-free cans, why can't all cans be BPA free?

    Check out my blog post at: http://www.savorra.com/2010/01/bpa/ for more info and some suggested text to email Whole Foods yourself. I have received a response from them already–essentially “We know there is a problem. We're looking into it, but not planning on doing anything anytime soon.”–so clearly they need to hear from more people in order to make this a priority. Tell your friends!

  • Heather D

    Bionaturae offers strained tomatoes and tomato paste in glass jars and they have confirmed that their glass jar lids do not contain BPA. All of their canned tomato products still contain BPA but they are testing alternatives.

  • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

    Thanks for the heads up, Heather! We're in the process of confirming that their glass jar lids are actually BPA-free and will let everyone know as soon as we hear back.

  • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

    Thanks for sharing your informative and motivating blog post with us! I completely agree that shifting our spending away from companies who refuse to address toxic chemicals in their products is a great way to cause change. Money speaks, sad but true.

    Making a shift from BPA to another lining in aluminum cans will take some time, and we should continue searching out and supporting companies who are working hard to find safer alternatives in the meantime.

    Thanks for providing the link to Whole Foods contact info. I'll be emailing them as you suggested right away!

  • ThePurloinedLetter

    You seem to be saying that Ball's regular lids for canning do contain BPA. Is that true? Yikes…

  • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

    Hi ThePurloinedLetter – yes, you're right. It's a bummer, but the regular aluminum Ball lids do have a layer of BPA.

  • bonzaibb

    Here is an Organic Tomato Paste and strained tomato's in a glass jar the price is decent too

    2 sources

    http://www.shoporganic.com/prod_detail_list/s
    http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/organic_tomat

  • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

    Thanks for the sources recommendations, bonaibib! Although not BPA-free, glass jars are probably the lesser of two evils.

  • http://www.mbopmegashop.com Online Shopping Mall

    Yeah – this needs to be sorted out globally!!

    Mbop Megashop

  • Nava

    Actually, I’ve heard that Tetra Paks ARE recyclable, but only in facilities that are equipped to handle them (btw: Europe has been recycling the, for ages).

    This site breaks down the layers of what its made of and has some good links on where to recycle: http://www.lowimpactliving.com/blog/2009/04/28/how-to-recycle-tetra-pak-containers/
    1. Polyethylene – protects against outside moisture
    2. Paper – for stability and strength
    3. Polyethylene – adhesion layer
    4. Aluminum foil – oxygen, flavor and light barrier
    5. Polyethylene – adhesion layer
    6. Polyethylene – seals in the liquid

  • Nature Deva

    Pomi are BPA-free and if you do any canning yourself, you can use regular mason jars and get BPA-free, reusable lids from a co called Tattler. I just got a whole lotta lids/rings shipped to me and will be using them this season if my green tomatoes ever ripen up!

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  • https://twitter.com/#!/zerses Zerses

    http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/organic_tomato.htm
    And hopefully more will jump on the bandwagon, we’re all sick and tired of cheap, disease making packaging AND FOODS (GMO!)

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