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What’s Inside That Can?

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If your well-stocked pantry includes at least a few canned goods from the grocery store, I can identify with you. Despite our efforts to garden, do home canning and buy as much fresh food as possible, we still end up with a few items on the shelf in metal cans.  Because it was on sale, because it’s a backup item, because it’s habit, for convenience, etc.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself opening cans of tomatoes, tomato sauce, baked beans and beets.  Then I wondered if the linings really contained the known hormone disruptor Bisphenol-A.  So I called each company’s customer service line.

One of the nation’s largest grocery chains had an almost apologetic customer service person who confirmed that the two tomato product cans did indeed contain BPA linings.  My frustration here is that it’s a big store with a competitively priced house brand of many products.  My husband loves to stock up on big sale items and tends to be the one who carries home the cans.  At least I have a few jars of tomatoes left from my home canning efforts.

I was more hopeful that the folksy style of a regional baked bean company would mean it was ahead of the curve on this consumer issue.  Again, a very nice customer service person, but the answer was that the cans still contain BPA linings.  Darn, these are most flavorful, most convenient baked beans that I will no longer buy until they change the packaging.  With more planning, I’m determined to make our own baked beans from scratch.

The consumer affairs person at Libby’s said I could quote her as long as I didn’t use her name.  When I asked if they had a non-BPA-lined can, she answered, “We are definitely working on it, it hasn’t happened yet.”  My husband loves their sliced beets, but he’ll have to wait for me to cook fresh ones from now on.Now, is there a version of a home canning lid that doesn’t contain BPA either?  More on that another time.

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2 Responses to What’s Inside That Can?

  1. Anne October 18, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    Thanks Rebecca. I’m anxious to try canning some with the Weck jars next year. It’s my understanding that the Extension Service leaders haven’t yet been trained to use them. In my humble opinion that would introduce many more canners to that option.

  2. Rebecca Simmons October 18, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    Wick makes some all glass canning jars that are nice. You can buy them at the local co-op in Knoxville. They are pricey, but they work great. In my research the traditional Ball and Karr tops have to have BPA in them, or when they are used for acidic things they would rust very quickly. I’ve debated on this myself. And concluded if the food doesn’t actually touch the top than I can live with it. You are still better off because you are canning at home.

    For veggies, if it’s not fresh I get frozen instead of cans. And you can usually find tomato based products in glass jars. But the beans get me every time. I’m the worst at planning ahead to do dried beans.

    Glad you brought up this topic. Great post.

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