Greening Your Kitchen: Buy BPA-Free Tomatoes, Beans, etc. ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Greening Your Kitchen: Buy BPA-Free Tomatoes, Beans, etc.

Once I started researching BPA-free products, I learned that this s**t is far more pervasive than I'd previously thought! One major area of concern is the fact that almost all cans are lined with plastic that contains BPA, and there is also BPA in the lining of almost all jar lids, as well. While there is clearly a desperate need for Congressional action on this issue (so please sign my petition!), in the meantime, we can do our best to limit our exposure.

The best way to do that is to buy your beans dry (they're cheaper and  better tasting) and make everything from scratch using fresh veggies. However, these more time-consuming options are not always realistic for most of us. So what do we have to work with?

Sadly, our BPA-free options are pretty darn limited at the moment. Hopefully, companies will start to realize that not only is removing toxic substances from their packaging the right thing to do but also a good way to make money since more and more people want BPA-free goods! But here is what is available right now.

Beans 
Buy your beans from Eden Organics, the only company that currently does not use BPA in the lining of its canned beans or chilis. Here is what they have to say about their cans:
"All 33 Eden Organic Beans including Chili, Rice & Beans, Refried, and Flavored, are cooked in steel cans coated with a baked on oleoresinous c-enamel that does not contain the endocrine disrupter chemical, bisphenol-A (BPA). Oleoresin is a non-toxic mixture of an oil and a resin extracted from various plants, such as pine or balsam fir. These cans cost 14% more than the industry standard cans that do contain BPA. The Ball Corporation tells us that Eden is the only U.S. food maker to date to use these BPA free cans and we have been since April 1999."

Tomatoes
Unfortunately, there are currently no BPA-free canned tomatoes available because highly acidic foods like tomatoes apparently require super strong (highly toxic) linings. So even good ol' Eden Organics has been forced to continue using BPA in the linings of its canned tomato products. 

However, Pomi uses Tetra Pak packaging for its tomato products and Tetra Pak does not include BPA. Pomi sells chopped and strained tomatoes as well as marinara sauce. Pomi's tomatoes are packaged in Italy so the carbon footprint of these tomatoes is gonna be pretty big. The Tetra Pak packaging also looks to be unrecyclable - two strikes against it in my opinion. I guess we get to pick our poison on this one -- planetary or personal...

Trader Joe's sells a Tetra Pak packaged tomato sauce (which may even be Pomi's marinara in a TJ's box...) and thanks to the magic that is Trader Joe's, they're probably also a good deal cheaper than the Pomi brand. You can also buy a pack of 12 on Amazon for roughly the same price.


If you're not excited about the Pomi/Trader Joe's tetra pak tomatoes, you can also limit your exposure to BPA somewhat by buying tomatoes/tomato sauce in glass jars. They are not BPA-free because BPA is used in the lining of the frikking jar lids, but given that the tomatoes or sauce are not that likely to touch the lid of the jar, my highly scientific guess is that tomatoes packed in glass jars are probably a lot healthier than canned tomatoes. There is one company, Bionaturae, that makes its glass jars without BPA in the lining of the lids. However, their lids are lined with a a PVC-based organosol lacquer and since PVC is another toxic chemical we are all supposed to avoid, this does not really inspire confidence. Makes me feel like lobbing rotten tomatoes...

So there you have it. Please write in with any other additional info you may have on this topic. And please do sign my petition asking Congress to get off its butt and reform the Toxic Substances Control Act ASAP.

Special thanks to Alicia at the Soft Landing for her great post on BPA-free tomatoes :)

A few more posts you might like:

10 comments:

Lisa at EWG said...

Eve, Great post. If you're interested in EWG's effort to pass the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act / reform TSCA, we have a bundle of resources/action opportunities here: http://bit.ly/54hb1y. Cheers, Lisa Frack (EWG)

Eve Fox said...

Thanks, Lisa. I did just check out EWG's stuff -- super helpful!

peter said...

The tomato thing is a drag, especially since last summer we canned exactly zero tomatoes due to awful weather. But beans are easy: don't buy canned beans at all. Dried taste 3000 times better, and a pressure cooker makes short work of them whether soaked or not.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Eden's Organics is a great Michigan company, too - woohoo!

Thanks for the information here. I'm involved in sustainability/slow food issues, and I'll be sure to pass this along.

I'm very, very bummed about the tomatoes.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you guys know that the tetra pak or POMI does leach synthetic estrogen hormones, sometimes more than plastic. Here is the article I found on it.
http://www.greencradle.net/2009/11/are-tetra-paks-a-healthier-or-greener-container-for-organic-foods/

Anonymous said...

I'd like to sign your petition but when I click on the link you give, I don't get access, just a list of other references. Please advise.

I, too, am so distraught at the tomato debacle. I would crush my own but can't find a decent tomato in the wintertime.

karli said...

just FYI, Muir Glen has a posting on it's website that states they have identified a new coating for cans that is BPA free and they are now beginning to can new crops in those BPA free cans. Not sure how you can tell the difference yet though. I'm sure there will be some sort of labeling that will make it clear.

Eve Fox said...

Hi Karli, that's great news and I'm sure that once they're on the market, they'll be trumpeting the BPA-free-ness of the cans from the rooftops!

Linda said...

I was happy to find out that Tetra Paks ARE recyclable here in Mesa, Arizona. Check with your recycling program to confirm they can be recycled in your area. :)

Anonymous said...

Please, update this post! I found Hunt's tomato sauce in a tetra pak yesterday at walmart, so the options are grawing...