BPA in Canned Foods: The Best and Worst Brands Out There

As we deal with the disappointment in Congress for failing to ban BPA in baby products, and the envy of the EU for successfully passing a similar ban just a week later, I thought a quick overview would be worthwhile of some of the best and worst companies when it comes to BPA (bisphenol a) exposure.

Eden Foods has been leading the BPA-free way for years, with a policy in place since 1999 and all of its organic bean products in cans lined without BPA.


Other organic brands, like Muir Glen, Amy's, Bionaturae, and S&W Organic all do use BPA in their canned foods. So does the Whole Foods brand, which even if it's not always organic, seems worth mentioning.

Green Century released a report earlier this year, Seeking Safer Packaging, on the issue and condensed the results into a handy scorecard that gives 26 major brands a grade for their BPA policies. Coca-Cola, Del Monte, Kraft, Unilever, Kroger, Safeway, Supervalu and Wal-Mart all failed. (Whole Foods got a D+, because it "has not demonstrated that it is actively testing any BPA-free options for its private-label cans despite a commitment to eliminate the chemical from packaging.")

Only three companies made the top grade. From Green Century:

Hain Celestial* (A), whose brands include Health Valley, Earth's Best, and Westbrae Natural, ConAgra* (A), which owns brands such as Chef Boyardee, Hunt's and Healthy Choice, and H.J. Heinz* (A) are the highest-scoring companies in this report. Each of these companies has started using BPA-free can linings for certain products, is committed to removing the chemical from all of its packaging products, and has a timeline to achieve this transition.

Some "sustainable seafood" brands have made the commitment, and while Trader Joe's has gone BPA-free for some products including canned corn, beans and some meat products, all its other canned goods are likely to have BPA, including tomatoes, soups, chili, stews, and tomato paste and sauces.

Since with BPA, the amount of exposure matters and canned goods (along with register receipts) pose the greatest risk, it's worth trying to stick to brands that have a policy on BPA and are transparent about what products do or don't contain the chemical, and for the foods you can't get more detail on—try simply cooking more with fresh, instead of canned, ingredients.