What You Need to Know About Buying Organic Food in Cans

Written by Max Goldberg on August 9, 2011. Follow Max on Twitter: @livingmaxwell.

While I promote organic food as much as I can and want to help the industry prosper, I also feel a need to educate and inform my readers.

Without question, organic food is the healthiest food that exists and is something that I believe can feed the planet. However, sometimes the packaging of organic food products is not always the best.

I have talked a lot in the past about my aversion to plastic bottles. Aside from the fact that they are horrible for the environment, they are also hormone (endocrine) disruptors.

When I spoke with David Wolfe, the most famous person in the raw food world, he shared a similar opinion regarding plastic.

Have I eliminated plastic bottles 100% from my life? No, but my usage has gone way, way down.

When I carry my water around NYC, I use glass bottles. And I LOVE the glass bottles by Takeya.

Every time I go into my local organic market, I see cans of organic food — beans, pasta sauce, tomato paste, etc. Many of these items are using cans that contain BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical that the FDA has real worries about.

The FDA has some concern about “the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.”

If the FDA, which is so beholden to Big Ag and doesn’t express any real concern about GMOs, has trepidation about BPA in packaging, it is something to pay attention to.

Brands that Use BPA-Free Cans

While there may be other brands that offer organic food in BPA-free cans, these are the ones that I am aware of.

EDEN ORGANIC

Eden Organic has been using BPA-free cans since 1999. This company has been way ahead of the curve on this whole BPA issue and their efforts are very admirable. The Eden Organic products that do not use BPA cans are the organic beans, refried beans, chilies and rice & beans.

The Eden Organic products that contain tomatoes do use BPA cans.

NATIVE FOREST, NATIVE FACTOR

– Native Forest and Native Factor brands by Edwards & Sons have all of their products (except mushrooms) in BPA-free cans.

Interestingly, the labels do not say BPA-free but I have spoken with the company and they have assured me that all of the products (except mushrooms) under the Native Factor and Native Forest brands are not sold in cans that contain BPA.

MUIR GLEN

– Muir Glen says on their website that they are transitioning to BPA-free cans. What does this mean exactly?

Well, when I called the company, I was told that there are some organic tomato products that have the BPA-free cans and some that do not. However, none of the cans have labels on the outside indicating whether it is BPA-free or not.

I was told that the only way to tell if the Muir Glen can is BPA-free is to buy it and then look at the color of the liner inside.

If the liner is white, it is a BPA can. If the liner is an off-white color (yellow, copper, redish, pinkish color), then it is a BPA-free can.

When I asked to speak with a PR person at Muir Glen about this, I was refused.

I can promise you that I won’t be buying Muir Glen cans anytime soon and playing roulette as to whether the product contains BPA or not.

——–

Even if the cans are BPA-free, the liners will contain other chemicals, many of which we don’t understand the long-term consequences to human health.

If you still have doubts about BPA-free cans, my best advice is to stick with glass as much as you can.

Other Posts You May Enjoy

31 Comments

  1. Thank you, Max!

    I always stick to glass but I will share your great posting
    with our grocery team and my team and my store team leader

    All the best,
    stephanie

    Written by stephanie haughey on August 10, 2011 @ 12:52 pm
  2. Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks so much, I really appreciate you sharing it with your team.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on August 10, 2011 @ 1:03 pm
  3. Even with glass there is BPA contamination from the lids. It’s very frustrating. At this point I think the only 100% BPA free alternative is in the cardboard packaging, such as Pomi tomatoes and some soups and such.

    I admit to having canned goods in my home in my emergency closet but I truly try to avoid them as much as possible.

    Written by Mira on November 24, 2011 @ 2:19 pm
  4. Hi Mira,

    BPA contamination from the lids has to be very minimal, especially when compared to the cans.

    I don’t know what the cardboard packaging you are referring to. I believe those are the tetra packs or plastic cartons. If so, those are hormone disruptors, similar to plastic bottles.

    Having canned goods for an emergency is always a good idea. Eating food from BPA-cans is better than starvation any day of the week.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on November 24, 2011 @ 9:25 pm
  5. Does anyone know if the Amy’s brand of organic soups use BPA?

    They always have very good ingredients in their soups which are also very tasty, except for the prices.

    Thanks!

    Written by Roger Gilde on January 24, 2012 @ 10:24 am
  6. Hi Roger,

    As far as I know, they use BPA cans. If someone else has other information, I’d love to hear about it.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on January 24, 2012 @ 10:50 am
  7. The BPA-free cans have a “use by” date of 2013. Anything earlier than that still has a BPA liner.

    Written by Henry Huggins on February 16, 2012 @ 8:34 pm
  8. Hi Henry,

    Thanks for the info.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on February 17, 2012 @ 1:05 pm
  9. thank you for your work on all our behalf… damn, I have half a case of Native Forest mushrooms in my pantry! What’s a dog to do with what they already have? surely it’s irresponsible to give it to a food bank…

    Written by Doreen Shababy on March 9, 2012 @ 10:19 am
  10. Hi Doreen,

    It is my pleasure. BPA is certainly a real issue and while many companies will be eliminating it, the plastic that they will be replacing it with could be just as bad. We just don’t have enough info/data on that new one yet. That’s why I prefer glass so much.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on March 11, 2012 @ 12:30 pm
  11. Regarding Muir Glen’s saying they have some tomato products in BPA-free cans:

    A page on the Eden Foods website says that the FDA hasn’t approved any non-BPA-lined cans for tomato products. Quoting from

    http://www.edenfoods.com/articles/view.php?articles_id=178

    For the moment, Eden Foods tomato products are packaged in industry-standard BPA-containing cans. “The FDA hasn’t approved any other type of can lining for highly acidic foods,” Potter said.

    Written by Linda on April 16, 2012 @ 12:11 am
  12. Hi Linda,

    I will look into what you wrote and update this page. It was written last year and things may have changed since then.

    Thanks.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on April 17, 2012 @ 4:06 pm
  13. I had no idea cans had BPA in them. It is a hormonal epidemic out there!

    Written by Sooney on May 18, 2012 @ 8:03 am
  14. Hi Sooney,

    Absolutely. I avoid cans at all costs.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on May 19, 2012 @ 2:24 pm
  15. You said, “If the liner is white, it is a BPA can. If the liner is an off-white color (yellow, copper, redish, pinkish color), then it is a BPA-free can.” Most cans that I know of have silver linings, the sane color as aluminum. For example, I have a can or organic Nature’s Promise tomato paste and as far as I can tell, the inside is silver. That seems to be the norm. So I’m wondering if some of you have actually seen white linings in cans.

    Written by Ellen Finkelstein on August 26, 2012 @ 9:35 pm
  16. Hi Ellen,

    When I made that comment in my post, it was under the Muir Glen section and I was referring to the color of the linings of Muir Glen cans only. (This is what the Muir Glen person told me on the phone.) I have since made an edit to my post to make it much more clear to readers.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on August 27, 2012 @ 5:50 pm
  17. Thanks for clarifying. It occurred to me that the reason companies use BPA may be to line the can so we don’t get aluminum in our diet. Do you know if that’s true? So, BPA-free cans may not be so great, either.

    Written by Ellen Finkelstein on August 27, 2012 @ 6:25 pm
  18. Hi Ellen,

    I don’t think BPA-free cans are good either. Why? Because they are probably using some other chemical to line the cans that is less well-known but may have similar negative health effects. That’s why I always prefer glass.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on August 27, 2012 @ 7:10 pm
  19. I see where you recommend glass instead of cans, however, I can’t find tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, etc., in jars. I live in a small town; we do have a Kroger and a Walmart. Neither carries jarred products. I have been buying Kroger Select brand tomatoes in cans, I thought they had taken BPA out but now I’m not so sure. So, any other ideas?
    I did try to grow my own with limited success.
    Thanks a lot,
    Susan

    Written by Susan Leaf\ch on September 6, 2012 @ 5:15 pm
  20. Hi Susan,

    I wonder if Wal-Mart/Kroger would special order products for you. It is worth asking. Also, you may want to order off of Amazon and see how that works for you.

    Hope this helps.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on September 6, 2012 @ 10:11 pm
  21. Hi.. this is my first post ever on your site! I’m excited. I love what I have been reading on your site and must say that my husband and I know a lot about this and live a very healthy lifestyle (so much so, that we have lost friends)..thanks to wonderful info out there, Naturalnews.com, Mercola, Weston A. Price…just to name a few. I am happy that I found another one in Livingmaxwell.

    There’s a great tomato paste from whole foods 365 brand in glass jars. Also, I myself wont ever purchase a Glen Muir product again.Not only do they use agave nectar but I read that the company was behind GMO’s NOT being labeled??? Anyway, I am enjoying your site and look forward to posting more :)

    Violeta

    Written by Violeta on September 19, 2012 @ 2:40 pm
  22. Hi Violeta,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate it and will work hard to continue to provide more valuable content for you.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on September 26, 2012 @ 5:44 pm
  23. I’m new to your site and very concerned about our food products.
    I’m looking forward to receiving your newsletters.

    Written by carol chvila on February 24, 2013 @ 7:00 pm
  24. Hi Carol,

    Thanks for stopping by and for signing up to the newsletter!

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on February 27, 2013 @ 1:29 pm
  25. Some of the canned food we get clearly has a liner (white) but a lot of it just looks like plain metal. Do the plain metal cans have some sort of clear liner that contains BPA – or are the plain metal ones safe?

    Written by terri on April 10, 2013 @ 11:20 pm
  26. Hi Terri,

    I think that you need to evaluate on a brand-by-brand basis, which company is not using BPA.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on April 14, 2013 @ 2:48 pm
  27. Don’t know about the BPA, but I recently purchased a large can of tomatoes from Meiers. Only can I found anywhere that said, “does not contain GMO.”

    Written by Mikki on April 26, 2013 @ 5:42 pm
  28. Hi, I find some of the stuff here a little confusing. Plastic leaches toxic chemicals, and those chemicals are from the additives. Eden uses a plant based additive instead of BPS, the most common BPA substitute. (BPS is actually 19 times worse than BPA, so there is not much benefit of “BPA free”) Even plant-based plastics (Like PLA) have been found to still leach chemicals from the additives in them, but does anyone know what additives are in the liner in Eden organics canned food? Are the additives in the liner all plant based, or do the plant based ingredients liner have “other additives” in it? I don’t eat canned food anyway, (We get our black beans, chick peas, granola, almonds, and popcorn organic from the bulk bins in glass jars) but I find this very confusing. And is it possible for the liner to break during shipping? I don’t see why we package food in a toxic metal such as aluminum anyway, even with a liner? I wouldn’t eat food out of a toxic cadmium can with a liner, but why do we put anything in aluminum, organic or not?

    Written by Gwen on September 2, 2013 @ 9:46 am
  29. You may want to correct your information about Native Forrest Unsweetened Organic Coconut Milk Classic in the can. Recently, (fall of 2013) I have noticed that the inside of the can is white, indicating BPA. I purchased several cans in upstate NY recently and the cans have white insides.I don’t remember it having the white insides up until now. The expiration date is July 2015, which means it was just produced in July of 2013, this year. Their website indicates 24 months to expiration.

    It is very disappointing. And very sad. Just wanted to let you know since you took the time to inform people who frequent your webpage. Trish

    Written by Trish on December 7, 2013 @ 1:57 pm
  30. This is a follow-up with a response from Edward & Sons Trading Co. I wrote inquiring about the white on the insides of the cans of Native Forest Unsweetened Organic Coconut Milk. This is their response:

    Thank you for contacting Edward & Sons Trading Co. This is our new liner that is a titanium dioxide based liner. We have always had a liner for our coconut milk cans, but our previous liner was a clear epoxy liner. In our constant effort to reduce and eliminate BPA from packaging, we have found the new white liner to be a superior lacquer. Our previous lining was tested to 0.2 parts per million (ppm) and tests were negative for BPA. With the change to this new liner, we have commissioned even more stringent testing which confirmed the white lined coconut milk cans test negative for BPA and BPS at the extremely low detection level of 0.1 part per billion (ppb). We are very pleased with the performance of this lining.

    We appreciate your interest in these matters. We continue to work diligently “behind the scenes” to ensure we are providing the best quality products that are supportive of our customers, our farmers and packers and our planet.

    Sincerely,
    Hannah Stonecypher
    Edward & Sons Trading Co.

    So, take it for what it’s worth. I think I’ll start making my own coconut milk. Trish

    Written by Trish on December 11, 2013 @ 12:43 am
  31. Thanks for the update, Trish!

    Written by Max Goldberg on December 11, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

Post a Comment