Toxic Nation Fact Sheet: Seeking Safer Packaging: Ranking Packaged Food Companies on Bisphenol A (BPA)

http://www.toxicnation.ca/node/234

For the full report click here

1. The food and beverage industry uses BPA in product packaging

  • Linings of food and beverage cans commonly contain BPA; it is also a common ingredient in hard plastic food containers
  • The food and beverage industry widely uses BPA in product packaging even though it is known to leach from packaging into food

2. The chemical industry generates uncertainty about the health effects of BPA

  • A recent analysis has shown that 92% of all reports funded independent of the chemical industry found BPA to have adverse effects, but 100% of all reports funded by the industry showed BPA to have no significant impact

3. Alternatives to BPA exist and some companies are already moving to alternatives

  • BPA has been widely substituted within clear, hard plastic bottles

    Various retailers have already agreed to stop selling hard plastic, or polycarbonate, bottles, including baby bottles, children’s cups and sports bottles

  • Alternatives have been identified for its use in can linings for some canned food, but no alternative has been found for the packaging of highly acidic foods

    Since 1999, Eden Foods has sold all of its products (except for tomatoes) in cans free of BPA

4. How the companies were surveyed

  • US investor groups Green Century Capital Management and As You Sow sent letters to 20 major companies in the packaged food industry to identify what actions these companies are taking to address BPA concerns
  • A scorecard was used to rank company responses to five standard questions according to three factors:

    1.Efforts to find and implement alternatives to BPA
    2.Plans to phase out BPA in products for which alternatives exist
    3.Transparency on the issue

5. All 20 US companies surveyed use BPA and have products on the Canadian market

  • Well known companies surveyed included: Heinz, Nestlé, Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, Del Monte, General Mills, Hershey, Chiquita, J.M. Smucker, Kellogg, Kraft PepsiCo, and Sara Lee
  • Lesser known companies, with well known products, surveyed included: Hain Celestial (maker of Rice Dream and Soy Dream), ConAgra (maker of Chef Boyardee and Hunt’s), Dean Foods (maker of Silk Soymilk), Hormel (maker of Stagg Chili and Spam), McCormick (owner of the ClubHouse brand), Sysco (maker of Casa Solana Chunky Salsa), and Unilever (maker of Becel and Lipton products)

6. Some companies surveyed are taking more precautionary steps than others to eliminate BPA, but none of the companies ranked are doing enough to address growing consumer concerns and the shifting regulatory climate.

  • Heinz is the only company currently using an alternative to BPA in some of its can linings

    Heinz has phased out BPA in its baby food can lacquers and has started a project to remove BPA from baby food jar closures sold in the UK

  • Two additional companies are exploring alternatives and have plans to phase out BPA use in some products:

    Hain Celestial is evaluating and testing alternatives, has found alternatives for low-acidity foods, and has a clear timeline to transition to BPA-free packaging for some products
    Nestlé has started several projects to explore alternatives, claims it will have an alternative identified by the end of 2009, and has plans to phase BPA out, but did not present a clear commitment to implement such substitution

  • Three companies are not taking any action beyond monitoring the industry

    Del Monte
    Hershey
    J.M. Smucker

  • Six companies did not respond to the letters

7. What you can do when companies are slow to act.

  • Take Action by sending a letter to the Ministers of Environment and Health, calling on them to remove bisphenol A from all food and beverage containers.
  • Take Action by sending a letter to Del Monte, Hershey, and J.M. Smucker urging them to increase their investments into seeking and implementing alternatives to BPA and transition to alternatives with clear timeframes for individual products and product lines.
  • Support our campaign work by donating to Environmental Defence
  • Sign-up for the Toxic Nation e-Newsletter for regular updates on the campaign and news on bisphenol A.
  • Log on to www.toxicnation.ca to get details of the government’s assessment of BPA and find out how to submit a comment directly to government.

http://www.toxicnation.ca/node/234

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