The food processing world is reeling right now one day after a shocking new series of tests released by Consumer Reports revealed that many leading brands of canned foods contain Bisphenol A (BPA)—a toxic chemical linked to health risks including reproductive abnormalities, neurological effects, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems.
BPA is used in the lining of cans and the toxin leaches from the lining into the food. According to Consumer Reports just a couple of servings of canned food can exceed scientific limits on daily exposure for children.
The federal government is currently studying the dangers of BPA and advocates are calling on the FDA to ban the use of BPA in food and beverage packaging by the end of the year. Companies in other industries, including Wal-Mart, Target, Nalgene, and Babies R Us have already made commitments to stop using BPA.
The food industry, however, is fighting hard to stop any government regulation. They say it is too logistically complicated to move away from BPA-lined cans. And it is true that right now there isn’t a good way to produce cans without BPA. But alternative packaging does exist. You may have heard of glass, to take just one example. Or, given how much mind-blowing chemical science goes into the production of most packaged foods, with a shift in research spending the manufacturers could probably devise a technological solution.
While more comprehensive government intervention is ultimately important, right now the companies that produce the food we feed our children could choose to be supportive partners in moving past the use of BPA.
That’s why we’ve just started a petition asking Campbell’s, the largest canned soup manufacturer, to live up to its new “nourishing people's lives everywhere, every day” slogan and lead this industry move away from the use of BPA laden packaging.
When large companies take action on their own they often not only lead their competitors to follow suit, they make is much easier for the government to craft thoughtful and effective regulations to help keep us all safe. Campbell’s, because of it’s wholesome brand and industry-leader status, is in the perfect position to have a huge impact by taking the proactive step of simply committing to phasing out BPA in their products.