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6 Tips for Avoiding Canned Food

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6 Tips for Avoiding Canned Food

Ah, the wonder of canned food. Whip it open, heat it up…and voilà, your meal is served. What’s wrong with this picture?

When Consumer Reports performed tests of canned foods including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans. They found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods tested contain Bisphenol-A (BPA). The canned organic foods they tested did not always have lower BPA levels than nonorganic brands of similar foods analyzed. And they even found the chemical in some products in cans that were labeled “BPA-free.”

More than 100 peer-reviewed studies have found BPA to be toxic at low doses. BPA is a synthetic estrogen and commonly used to strengthen plastic and line food cans. As Nicholas D. Kristof points out in an Op-Ed in The New York Times, scientists have linked it, though not conclusively, to everything from breast cancer to obesity, from attention deficit disorder to genital abnormalities in boys and girls alike. It also has a negative effect on your libido!

Consumer Reports states that a 165-pound adult eating one serving of canned green beans from the test sample, could ingest about 80 times more BPA than their experts’ recommended upper daily  limit. Children eating multiple servings per day of canned foods with BPA levels comparable to the ones they found in some tested products could get a dose of BPA approaching levels that have caused adverse effects in several animal studies.

So how to get around an item that has become an indispensable in the pantries of most? Here are six ways to beat the cans.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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4:32PM PDT on Mar 30, 2012


2:48PM PST on Nov 16, 2011


5:16AM PDT on Jul 8, 2011

thanks for the info

2:48AM PDT on Jun 28, 2011

My son can't eat foods that contain a lot of MSG or other preservatives. So I end up cooking, and it's fun learning to do different recipes, and it's actually not as bad as what you'd think on the wallet.

We do tacos & fajitas, Asian stir fry, teriyaki chicken, spaghetti, etc... all loaded with a TON of veggies.

11:08AM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

Thank you!

8:49AM PDT on Jun 25, 2011

It seems like I've read that the worst thing you can buy canned is tomatoes. Because of their acidity they absorb more of the BPA than other foods(?). Don't quote me, I am just commenting on what I think I have read in the past...

8:45AM PDT on Jun 25, 2011

Good info, thanks!

8:37AM PDT on Jun 22, 2011

It's hard to avoid canned when you are in a pinch, just limit hat you use.

6:19PM PDT on Jun 21, 2011


12:00PM PDT on Jun 21, 2011

I never knew any of this..Thank you so much! I will try to avoid canned beans from now on, luckily I don't eat other canned foods.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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