BPA in Those Canned Green Beans?

There’s even more reason to eat fresh vegetables whenever possible. Consumer Reports just released the results of their Bisphenol A (BPA) tests of canned foods. Items tested include: soups, juice, tuna and green beans.


Sadly for consumers, almost all of the 19 name-brand foods tested contain measurable levels of BPA. The highest levels of BPA were found in canned green beans and canned soup. Even worse, some of the canned foods labeled “organic” or “BPA-free” were in the bad group! Vital Choice tuna in “BPA-free” cans contained an average 20 ppb (parts per billion) of BPA, while eco-favorite Eden had detectable levels of BPA in their canned baked beans (averaged 1 ppb).

Some example BPA findings from Consumer Reports:

  • Progresso Vegetable Soup: 67 to 134 ppb
  • Campbell’s Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup: 54.5 to 102 ppb
  • Canned Del Monte Fresh Cut Green Beans Blue Lake: 35.9 ppb to 191 ppb  (the big winner!)

While it may seem silly to some to debate on parts per billion, you have to keep in mind that it’s the cumulative effect of many foods consumed that’s harmful. For kids who drink Nestlé Juicy Juice in a can, parents should keep in mind that it averaged 9.7 ppb of BPA. Canned Similac liquid concentrate averaged 9 ppb of BPA, but there was no measurable BPA in the powdered version.

What’s the best alternative packaging?

Since so much food comes in plastic or metal cans, the wisest choices remain cooking from scratch or choosing foods packaged in safer materials like glass.

Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Director of Technical Policy, at Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, said:

“Children eating multiple servings per day of canned foods with BPA levels comparable to the ones we found in some tested products could get a dose of BPA near levels that have caused adverse effects in several animal studies. The lack of any safety margin between the levels that cause harm in animals and those that people could potentially ingest from canned foods has been inadequately addressed by the FDA to date.”

The results of the BPA tests are in the December issue of Consumer Reports, and you can read more online. Consumer Reports notes that their tests reflect a snapshot of the marketplace and don’t provide a “general conclusion about the levels of BPA in any particular brand or type of product.”

Do you eat food from metal cans?

(Image via stock.xchng)

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    • http://goodlifelane.blogspot.com DramaMama

      Some…not much though. For instance we use a lot of canned refried beans and black beans. Stuff like this might push me over the edge! I have been meaning to try making our beans from dried ones, but for some reason I make excuses. I know it’s pretty easy, but I still have been avoiding it. We also eat some salmon from the can, but other than that I think we’re doing pretty well. Scary where some of these chemicals are turning up, isn’t it? Just when you think you’ve banned them from your kitchen…thanks for encouraging people like me to try and cook from scratch more =)!

    • http://www.treehuggingfamily.com Peggy

      DramaMama, I’m so terrible about remembering to soak dried beans. I’ve been making refried beans from canned pinto beans, but this whole thing is inspiring me further to start soaking.

    • http://www.ranchwifecafe.com Jillian

      Wow is all I have to say. I have started phasing out canned items from my pantry more because of country of origin issues- nothing is made in the USA anymore and as a farmers wife we need to support local agriculture whenever possible however possible though we are a large farming operation we have made a huge effort this year to be sustainable and I have canned and froze most of our produce and meats from the summer produced in our garden. Thanks for the info- new to the site but now I am a lifer!

    • http://www.treehuggingfamily.com Peggy

      Hi Jillian. Welcome to Tree Hugging Family. :)

    • http://oldrecipe.wordpress.com/ Kyce at Old Recipe for a New World

      Thanks for this. Our family is beginning a four month plastic fast in January, and after hemming and hawing I decided that yes, of course we had to cut out canned foods. I can get by with fresh foods for just about everything, but life without coconut milk and crushed tomatoes? Alas!

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    • Shel

      I cook beans from dried, the hardest part IS remembering in enough time to soak and cook them by the time you need them. Recently I’ve cooked extra and froze them, thawing takes less time than soaking/cooking.

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    • Brittan

      Would freezing beans involve putting them in plastic? and would this plastic leech into the food over time?

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    • http://www.treehuggingfamily.com Peggy

      Hi Shel. Freezing is a good idea for those of us who never remember to soak! :)