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CFIA: Canned food and BPA pose no threat

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By Jenni Spinner+

Last updated the 01-May-2014 at 13:49 GMT

A Canadian Food Inspection Agency study found 100% of canned foods tested were safe for human consumption.
A Canadian Food Inspection Agency study found 100% of canned foods tested were safe for human consumption.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency reports 100% of canned food tested turned up safe for human consumption

The agency tested more than 400 samples of fruits, vegetables, beverages, soups, pastas, and other products for biphenol A (BPA). In addition to foods produced in Canada, the project tested imported samples from 15 different countries.

BPA not a threat

Results showed BPA did not turn up in 98.5% of the tested foods. For the remainder (only six samples out of the whole lot), only miniscule amounts of BPA were detected.

John Rost, chairman of the North American Metal Packaging Alliance (NAMPA) told FoodProductionDaily the CFIA study is merely the latest in a long line of research projects confirming the safety of canned foods.

"With results showing virtually all the canned food products had no detectable BPA, these findings support the conclusions of regulatory agencies that epoxy can liners made with BPA are safe and do not pose a health risk to consumers of any age," he said. "It reconfirms high-performance BPA-based epoxy coatings, which provide one of the highest levels of food protection, have extremely low levels of migration into foods."

Small amounts

According to the CFIA, the levels of BPA detected in the 1.5% of samples were low enough that an adult would have to eat approximately 14 kg of canned food to even come close to an exposure level that could pose a safety concern. The amount is roughly the equivalent of 50 servings of canned vegetables.

Rost told FPD the study should bolster the existing body of evidence affirming the lack of threat posed by BPA, and packaging using the material to extend shelf life.

"This Canadian finding should give consumers added confidence that canned foods continue to be a safe and healthy option to provide nutritious meals to their families,” he said.

Safe packaging

Additionally, Rost said the study underscores the safety that food cans afford consumers.

"Canned foods and beverages have an incredible safety record when it comes to protecting consumers; foodborne illness is a real safety issue, and the fact canned foods have not caused a case of food borne illness from the failure of metal packaging in over 30 years should be the top of people’s minds," he said. "These results show that the superior materials used in the metal packaging protecting our food does not migrate into that food at measurable levels of concern."

Despite the increased concern about BPA posing a threat to consumer health, and food bloggers waging a war against the packaging chemical, sales of canned food remain strong, Rost said.

"Consumers can see the FDA, Health Canada, the European Food Safety Authority, and numerous other regulatory bodies around the world have concluded that the claims of a small, but vocal group of activists, do not stand up to the mountain of good science on BPA," he said.

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