Friday, March 2, 2012
BPA-free Canned Products In Canada
The ladies over at The Soft Landing have an excellent article up on their site called BPA-free Canned Food Options, and it is a great list. However, this list is geared towards a US audience and while a few of the items on their list can be found here in Canada, many can't. So I thought I would do a little research and put together my own list that we Canadians can refer to when we are trying to figure it all out at the grocery store.
For those who don't know, BPA is a chemical that mimics the hormone estrogen and can cause a multitude of health problems. Manufacturer's use BPA in the epoxy used to line cans because cans need a lining to protect us from the metal and to extend product shelf life. The Canadian government has officially listed BPA as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Thankfully, many manufacturer's are taking the time to find safer ways to line their cans.
Is there something on this list that you can't find in your local store? Ask the store manager. Demand = Supply. I've also added alternatives to canned items in case you can't find a particular brand at your store. And a tip to remember when shopping, if a canned product is organic, this does not automatically mean that the can it's in is BPA-Free. This seems to be a common misconception.
This list will be updated to add new brands as they become available. Did I miss any items? Let me know in the comments!
Eden manufactures a wide variety of canned beans and other canned food products such as chili, and rice that are all BPA-free. A bonus to using this brand is that all products are certified organic. Eden also makes canned tomato products, it's important to note that these Eden canned tomato products are NOT BPA-free.
If you can't find Eden Organic products at your store, try these alternatives:
Beans - for a fraction of the cost of canned beans, you can buy a large bag of dried beans (organic is best). They require a little bit more work since they need to be soaked overnight and cooked before they are ready to be used, but they are a big money saver and tastes just as good or even better.
Chili and other prepared foods - most prepared foods (such as chili) can be made in large batches, portioned out, and frozen for future use. Try this delicious chili recipe.
Native Forest seems to be the only coconut milk manufacturer who uses BPA-free cans at the moment. Both their classic and light versions are safe and are thankfully available in Canada.
Native Forest also manufactures a variety of vegetables and canned fruits such as peaches and pineapple. I have only seen the pineapple where I live, but I am told that other fruits are available in Canada. If you buy canned fruits, hopefully you can find them where you are.
If you can't find Native Forest products at your store try this:
- Make your own coconut milk using this recipe! Follow the steps in the linked post, it's filled with great step by step images.
- Buy fruits that are in season and freeze them for future use or you can try canning seasonal fruits for later use. You can also use those fruits is many canning recipes. Here are 85 + home canning recipes!
Eden does offer bottled tomatoes and sauces, but the liner found on the inside of the lid does contain a small amount of BPA.
From the Eden site;
If you have access to buy tomatoes in the US, see the Soft Landing's list of BPA-free tomatoes and if you happen to learn of any BPA-free brands available here in Canada, please let me know.
The inside of the twist caps has two coats of sealer between the food and the metal of the cap. The first applied coating has BPA present. The second protective sealant does not, isolating the first coating from contact with the jar's contents.
Potential for migration of BPA is reduced by the following:
Today's most stringent regulations for food safety is in the European Union where these twist caps have been tested as safe in regards to BPA for use on food products. Currently, we are told, there is no known viable alternative to BPA based epoxy coatings that provides the same level of corrosion resistance and is as safe. We continually push our cap suppliers to develop BPA free constructed caps that will deliver required corrosion resistance, shelf life, and safety."
- An additional protective vinyl base overcoat facing the food, isolating the epoxy BPA containing coating. The coating containing BPA can never be in contact with the food.
- The cap's inner surface is separated from the food by an area of air/vacuum.
- The surface area exposed to the food is substantially less for a twist cap than for canned goods.
Alternative to canned tomato products:
Buying or growing your own tomatoes during tomato season and freezing them for later use. Tomatoes are abundant here in Canada. If you decide to grow them, they do not require a large amount of space and their plants can yield quite a large amount. If you can't grow them, purchase tomatoes (again, organic is best) during tomato harvest time (mid-summer to mid-fall here in Ontario) and freeze.
Using your tomatoes, you can make a good homemade spaghetti sauce recipe, homemade pizza sauce recipe and homemade tomato paste recipe and jar them for future use.