Ask Evan: Canned Food Safety

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askevan_header_2Every Tuesday I answer a question from a Good Food listener.  You can email me a question, leave one on Facebook or add one in the comments section here.  This week’s question comes from Joseph:

I was curious about canned foods and modern commercial canning. I’ve read that lead and the epoxy used to line some cans can contaminate foods. What are cans made of? In a global context, do different standards exist? How can we make an informed decision when we purchase canned foods?


The epoxy resin coating that’s on the inside of cans is used, according to the Bisphenol A website to:  “prevent corrosion of the can and contamination of food and beverages with dissolved metals. In addition, the coating helps to prevent canned foods from becoming tainted or spoiled by bacterial contamination.” They go on to say “Such coatings are essentially inert and have been used safely for over 40 years. In addition to protecting contents from spoilage, these coatings make it possible for food products to maintain their quality and taste, while extending shelf life.” And here comes the kicker…. “Bisphenol A (BPA) is a key building block of epoxy resins”.

It’s not a surprise that the industry is promoting it’s product.  So where does that leave those of us who like to be cautious? I’ve found myself buying a variety of canned goods from different manufacturers until I find those without the coating. When it comes to canned tomato products it’s getting harder and harder to find those brands that do not have the coating.  You might also try canning your own food.

And, as if to point out the obvious, a new study released recently said that eating fresh foods reduces the amount of BPA in your body.  Here is a link to the FDA’s position on BPA.