Safer Spaghetti-Os: Campbells Removes BPA from Cans

Back in September 2011, the Campbell’s Soup brand was attracting a quite a bit of unwanted attention. A recent study claimed the company’s soup had some of the highest BPA levels out of the canned foods they tested. At the time, Campbell’s was confident that their products were safe.

But not everyone felt that way.

The rating left parents concerned, and rightfully so since many of Campbell’s products are aimed at children, like Spaghetti-O’s.

This isn’t just a recent uproar, either. Many people feel that this toxin is very unhealthy to our bodies, and are fighting against it being used in cans and plastic. It has led scores of people to boycott cans and plastic, and choose glass bottles and containers instead.

What exactly IS BPA?

For those of you who don’t understand the controversy surrounding BPA or bisphenol-A, let’s clarify the problem. It is a commonly-used additive in food packaging and was originally implemented in the packaging process because it prevents corrosion in canned food products. Besides increasing shelf life, BPA also helps during the sterilization process by allowing the product to withstand high heat.

The problem with BPA is that it acts like human estrogen once it’s ingested.  Health advocates claim that it’s harmful to our health, while others in the manufacturing industry insist that it is completely safe.  Originally, the FDA believed that BPA did not pose a health threat in small doses, whether it’s in cans or prepackaged foods. But they announced earlier this month their intention to reevaluate the safety of BPA in packaging, with a decision being made by March 31, 2012. (Update: The FDA rejected the ban.)
Shortly after the initial study on Campbell’s cans became public, another investigation done by the Harvard School of Public Health came out stating the negative effects of BPA in-utero.  It was found that exposure to BPA during pregnancy produced agitated, depressive, and nervous behavior in young girls. The higher the mother’s BPA levels, the more likely the girls were to display behavioral issues as toddlers.   Is it an estrogen overdose these young girls are experiencing?  Possibly.

So what made Campbell’s change their mind about using BPA-lined cans?

Campbell’s Chief Financial Officer Craig Owens stated, “We believe that current can packaging is one of the safest options in the world; however, we recognize that there is some debate over the use of BPA.”  Basically, after 140 years of service, Campbell’s did not want to lose the trust of their loyal customers.  He continued, “Because of this, we have already started using alternatives to BPA in some of our soup packaging and we are working to phase out the use of BPA in the lining of all of our canned products.”

Many of you may be thinking that Campbell’s ultimately made the changes to protect their bottom line. But, does it really matter whether their motive was to keep their customers happy or to serve a healthier product?  What matters is that due to the outcry for a safer, toxin-free product, Campbell’s listened to their customers and cleaned up their act . . . and their cans.

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