Manufacturing News

BPA in canned foods rears its head as a manufacturing issue

A recent story in Consumer Reports

A recent story in Consumer Reports revealed potentially dangerous levels of bisphenol-A (BPA) in canned foods caused by epoxy-based linings. A 2007 study from the Environmental Working (EWG) Group found similar results; the study found unsafe levels of BPA in one of every 10 servings of canned foods and one of every three cans of infant formula. According to an EWG spokesman, the Food and Drug Administration has been dragging its feet for several years in developing new regulations prohibiting the use of BPA in can linings. But finding an effective substitute isn’t easy.

Steven G. Hentges, PhD, of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the American Chemistry Council argues, “Epoxy resins made from BPA are approved by the US FDA to line food and beverage cans in order to help prevent corrosion, contamination and food spoilage.” John Rost, chairman of the North American Metal Packaging Alliance, adds that there hasn’t been a food-borne illness resulting from a failure of metal packaging in the US for more than 30 years, according to FDA records.

While manufacturers of baby bottles have converted from materials containing BPA to safer materials, the solution is not so easy for can manufacturers. According to Mark Novotny, marketing manager for Nordson Corporation, the interest in non-epoxy powder coatings, which eliminate the use of dangerous solvents, is on the rise as can manufacturers look for non-BPA alternatives. Novotny explained that several can manufacturers and food processors are testing packs with non-BPA powder coatings.

Rost suggests that new non-BPA technologies, which have not performed as well in tests as epoxy resins, will not have the equivalent shelf life and will need time to prove themselves in terms of longevity and food safety.

Michael Potter, president of Eden Foods, found a non-BPA alternative for low-acid canned goods that actually predates epoxy resins-oleo-based C-enamel linings. In 1999, when Potter learned that BPA was a problem, he began investigating other materials and discovered a non-BPA can. He notes, however, that high-acidity foods such as tomato sauce still have to be packaged in epoxy-lined cans or glass.

Potter believes that Eden is the only processor currently using non-BPA cans.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

IPPE 2015

The 2015 International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) was held in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center, Jan. 27-29. More than 30,000 poultry, meat and feed industry representatives attended the event to interact with the 1,288 exhibitors on the show floor that covered more than 490,000 net square feet. At the show exhibitors demonstrated innovations in equipment, supplies and services utilized by firm in the production and processing of meat, poultry, eggs and feed products.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering March 2015 cover

2015 March

In this March 2015 issue of Food Engineering, we explore how a surprise FDA audit could be serious if you're not recording key data.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.