A new report by Mind the Store Campaign found BPA in the majority of canned foods analyzed; the bad news is that BPA-free alternatives may be no safer.
As you know, Bisphenol-A (BPA) can migrate from the epoxy coatings of aluminum cans right into the food, especially in hot-filled or heat-processed foods. So I was intrigued to learn that testing done by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) showed absolutely no BPA in 234 samples of domestic and imported infant formula, pre-packaged fruit and juices.
The samples were collected from retail stores in 11 Canadian cities from 2010-2011 and included 127 dairy and soy infant formula samples (powdered, ready-to-serve and concentrate), 92 processed, pre-packaged fruit product samples, and 15 fruit juice samples.
Several types of packaging materials were sampled too, including plastic, paperboard coated with waterproof plastic (Tetra Pak), paperboard cans with metal ends, metal cans, and glass jars with metal lids. And not a single sample tested positive for BPA.
The survey was conducted to provide baseline surveillance data that may be used by Health Canada to update the estimated exposure of the Canadian population to BPA through food consumption. And while there is no ban on BPA in food packaging in Canada, Health Canada plans to conduct ongoing assessments to monitor for increased BPA levels. If testing reveals a problem, the CFIA will determine whether further action is needed, including product seizure and/or recall.
This info is a little baffling in light of testing done by the FDA a few years ago showing what they called “small amounts” of BPA in ready-to-feed formula. Those small amounts can add up to quite a bit considering the enormous amount exclusively bottle fed babies consume.
Could it be that formula makers have quietly removed BPA in recent years? At this point, we just don't know because the CFIA didn't release the names of the products they tested. I contacted them about that and they sent me the full report, but no specifics were given. I promise to let you know if I learn anything further, though.
In the meantime, be sure to check out our list of BPA-free baby foods and SafeMama's baby formula cheat sheet. If you don't find your brand listed there, please let us know if you've confirmed it with the manufacturer as BPA-free and we'll review it as a possible addition to help other parents out.
Photo Source: Flickr N-lite Nutrihealth
Have you ever had a kid you knew was doing something sneaky but you just couldn't catch them in the act? Then when you finally catch him dead to rights, he instantly admits to it and says, “Sorry Mom, I didn't mean to – go ahead and ground me.” I have. And the suggestion that I go right ahead and discipline him makes alarm bells go off in my head. That's when I know that there's more to the story…
The American Chemistry Council announced last week that it agrees that bisphenol-A shouldn't be used to make baby bottles and sippy cups. Why the instant confession after spending millions of dollars to convince us it's safe? Oh of course – the announcement came after California passed legislation to ban BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups.
Sounds like somebody got caught. And the ACC's follow up explanation about the change in heart tripped the alarm bells for me: they asked the FDA to “clarify” for consumers that BPA is no longer used to manufacture baby bottles and sippy cups. They even posted a nice little quote to help us confused parents understand how they're “clarifying” the situation:
Although governments around the world continue to support the safety of BPA in food contact materials, confusion about these products has become an unnecessary distraction to consumers, legislators and state regulators. FDA action on this request will provide certainty that BPA is not used to make the baby bottles and sippy cups on store shelves, either today or in the future.
Hmmm, I don't know about you – but I suddenly feel the need to see what they're hiding behind their back.
I'm pretty sure it's their way of saying, “Hey, we already removed BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, and we're fine with that. Just don't tell us we have to remove it from canned foods and baby formula next!” I'm sure it's the only evasive maneuver they could think of to stop the snowball effect that is starting with BPA regulation. All the more reason to keep the pressure on!
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