The Campbell Soup Company says it will stop using Bisphenol A (BPA) in the lining of its cans by the middle of 2017 to address some consumers’ concerns about the chemical’s safety. Instead, the company is transitioning to using cans with linings made from acrylic or polyester materials beginning this month.
“Our priority throughout this transition has been, and will continue to be, food safety,” said Mike Mulshine, senior program manager, packaging. “We have tested and conducted trials with hundreds of alternatives to BPA lining and believe the acrylic and polyester options will ensure our food remains safe, affordable and tastes great.”
Campbell first announced its intention to move away from BPA linings in February 2012, in response to consumer feedback. In the four years since then, Campbell tested hundreds of alternatives, often facing a number of technical challenges. This included identifying linings that would ensure the safety of more than 600 different recipes, such as its tomato-based products, which are naturally acidic and can react with some linings over time.
The products that will be packaged in non-BPA lined cans include all varieties of Campbell’s soups and gravies, Swanson broth and SpaghettiOs pasta. The company is on track to have 75 percent of its soup portfolio in non-BPA lined cans by December 2016. The company is also currently testing alternatives to BPA coatings used on other packaging, including aluminum cans used for V8 beverages and metal screw top lids on glass jars. The company is on track to transition these products to a non-BPA solution by the middle of 2017.
“Our decision to speak publically about our current timeline is driven by our belief that providing transparency into our business is critically important to the people who purchase our food and beverages,” says Mark Alexander, Campbell president, Americas simple meals and beverages, in a blog post. “We must earn consumer trust every day by being open about what’s in our food, and that includes the packaging we use.
BPA has been widely used in metal food packaging for more than 40 years and is considered a safe packaging solution, however, some recent studies disagree claiming some research supports the theory BPA could harm the female reproductive system. Other studies have suggested BPA could be linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and other conditions. The American Chemistry Council says global consensus supports the use of BPA, and plastics containing BPA are safe, durable and convenient. FDA’s perspective is that the chemical is safe at its current levels used in foods, though the agency banned BPA use in baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula packaging in 2012.
Recently, the Associated Press reported California is delaying a warning label requirement on metal cans lined with BPA out of fear the labels could scare and discourage shoppers, particularly those with lower incomes who can only afford to purchase canned fruits and vegetables. Instead, stores will now require a general warning to be placed on the checkout counter. California added to its list of dangerous chemicals based on the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Also known as Proposition 65, the act is intended to prevent consumer interaction with harmful chemicals.