Campbell Soup cans to be BPA-free by mid-2017

Almost six years after Health Canada labelled Bisphenol A as a toxic substance, Campbell Soup Co. says it will soon stop using the chemical to line its cans.

Company says it's had a four-year transition to find an alternative that's food safe

Campbell's Soup Co. has begun its transition away from Bisphenol A to line its cans and its products will be BPA-free by mid-2017. (Campbell's Soup Co.)

Almost six years after Health Canada labelled Bisphenol A as a toxic substance, Campbell Soup Co. says it will soon stop using the chemical to line its cans.

In fact, your can of Campbell's Chunky Classic Chicken Noodle soup may already be BPA-free as the company shipped its first batch of BPA-free soup in March. Its full line of soups, canned noodles and gravies will be free of the chemical by mid-2017.

In a blog post Tuesday, Mark Alexander, president of America's simple meals and beverages at Campbell's, said it has taken four years for the soup company to transition away from BPA, which has lined canned goods for decades.

"BPA is one of the most widely tested and proven can linings and has been used by the food industry for decades," Alexander said.

"Many of the alternatives we considered were untested for foods with a long shelf life."

The work of finding an alternative isn't finished, as there are still "technical challenges" to lining cans that hold tomato products as tomatoes are naturally acidic and can react with can linings over time.

BPA traces in your body

The alternative is an  acrylic and polyester solution that Campbell's said has been subjected to extensive testing and approved for use by regulators.

Consumers began to rebel against BPA, which was also an ingredient in hard plastics, when a study in 2010 showed measurable levels of BPA were found in the urine of 91 per cent of Canadians aged six to 79.

BPA can mimic the hormone estrogen and cause changes in the body. It has been linked to breast cancer, according to the Breast Cancer Fund.

It was initially banned in baby bottles and limited in infant formula cans, but BPA has been used in can linings to prevent corrosion for decades.

The Breast Cancer Fund is lobbying for banning of BPA from all food packaging and expects to issue a report this week into linings and coatings used by food manufacturers.

That prompted Campbell's to reveal its timeline for eliminating BPA for all cans sold in the U.S. and Canada by the middle of 2017.

While some products, like the chicken soup, will transition earlier to the new can linings, the company said it won't label its products BPA-free until it is further into the process.

By December 2016, about 75 per cent of soup products will be in cans with the new linings.

"We have disclosed which of our products use BPA and our high-level plans to transition away from it on, but recognize we could go further," Alexander said in his blog post.

It's taken time to transition away from BPA because of the very large volume of canned goods, including gravies and noodles, produced by the company, he said, as well as the importance of maintaining food safety. 


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