BPA – the ‘baddie’ that won’t go away

News has just arrived that Crown Prince Seafood is phasing out Bisphenol-A in all of its cans. The company produces canned tuna, salmon and other types of fish.

This follows Campbell Soup Co is phasing out Bisphenol-A (BPA) in all of its canned food products. This is despite the fact that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has said that the small amount found in cans and sealants/adhesives used in glass jar lids poses no risk to health.

BPA is a chemical found in epoxy resins used as protective linings in food and beverage cans to prevent corrosion and spoilage, as well as in metal jar lids and the adhesives  used in the sealant.

Crown Prince is concerned about the issue of BPA in cans. BPA has been used in can linings for decades to prevent food spoilage but could possibly act as an endocrine disruptor, mimicking oestrogen and thereby disrupting the chemical messenger system in the body. “While we await the FDA’s study of the issue and final decision, we are moving forward on our own by discussing options with our packers,” said the company.

The Crown Prince, Crown Prince Natural, and Ocean Prince lines include product packed in eight foreign countries as well as the USA. “We therefore have to work in each locality with available canning materials. Several countries from which we import are strongly influenced by EU standards; at this time the EU does not consider the small amount of BPA in can linings a health issue. Due to this fact many can manufacturers in these countries do not stock adequate or consistent supplies, if at all, of BPA free cans. Crown Prince wishes to continue to be able to provide our customers good quality, modestly priced canned seafood with as little environmental impact as possible. Shipping empty BPA free cans thousands of extra miles, if they are unavailable locally, will add to our products’ price as well as to the degradation of the environment,” said the company, which currently has 12 BPA-free canned products on the market.

Whether BPA is safe or not, if the public have fears or concerns, then food and drink companies are wise to take note.

This issue was raised a long time ago, mainly regarding baby feeding bottles but seems to have come to a head with regard to cans just recently. The French Government is not waiting for further test results and the outcome of more research, but says BPA  must be phased out by 2014.

As always, we have faith in science to come to the rescue. Campbell’s itself has been researching alternatives to BPA for some years, and there are other substitutes already on the market.

For adhesives used in glass jar sealants, Actega has developed Provalin, which feature neither BPA nor melamine and are said to display minimum migration potential. The sealing compound can be used for all heat-treated products as well as for cold-filling and storage.

A new polymer coating suitable for use as a lining in food and beverage cans is free from Bisphenol A (BPA) and is produced using around 60% less energy than traditional epoxy materials, said the US company behind the product.

By merging innovative metal adhesion technology with unique polymer combinations, Design Analysis Inc. brings environmentally friendly, low cost decorative and protective coatings to flat rolled metal fabricators.

With its patented technology for PolyKoat product and processes, Design Analysis Inc. provides comparable performance using highly efficient green processes that emit no VOCs, contain no BPA and cut energy usage by at least 50% vs. traditional coating methods.

The European Food Safety Authority has stated that according to the available information, Bisphenol A (BPA) in direct thermal labels poses no risk to human health. However, public speculation over BPA’s health effects has prompted some retail chains to move away from BPA, which is commonly used as a colour developer in thermal papers.

Finnish paper company UPM Raflatac and Mettler Toledo, one of the leading scale manufacturers, have signed an agreement to launch a phenol-free thermal paper for VIP labelling in retail and logistics, available with the ProLiner PP30 release liner.This new self-adhesive labelstock maximises the value to label printers in terms of production efficiency and environmental performance. It is a first ever phenol-free direct thermal labelstock with a recyclable PP liner, where the developer function is achieved using different chemistry to that based on various phenol raw materials.

Converters and packaging companies are constantly responding to challenges that are set in terms of safety and efficacy, as well as ethical and environmental concerns. I have great faith that they will rise to this challenge in just the same way. As I understand it, tomato products in cans will prove to be one of the trickiest ones to solve.

If you have BPA-free cans or alternatives to epoxy coatings containing BPA, tell the world about it via PackTV. Email mbyrne@packtv.co.uk

Source: PackTV