General Mills Muir Glen Ditching BPA in Canned Tomatoes But…

By Kristie Turck •  Published 11/03/10 •  3 min read

I ran over an article at the same time that my friend from Ely Organics did on Facebook and we were questioning the accuracy of the information.  So of course we started digging around and I decided to give Muir Glen a call to get clarification.  Or at least as much clarification as a helpful customer service rep is allowed to give me.

The article in question, published in The Independant on November 1st said (amongst other things)

General Mills, the US giant behind the Green Giant tinned brand, has already ditched BPA from its Muir Glen tomato range, while Campbell Soups says it has done “hundreds” of tests exploring alternatives.”

While this is definitely good news, it’s also kind of a sweeping statement that leaves more questions than comforting answers.  A quick look at the Muir Glen website reveals a statement made by the company informing us that they will be transitioning to BPA free cans.

“Muir Glen has been working diligently with our can suppliers to develop and test alternative linings that do not use BPA, and we have successfully identified and tested an alternative that has proven safe and viable in our processing of tomatoes. We are transitioning to cans with liners that do not use BPA as we are canning this year’s tomato harvest.”

Great! But…. still, we’re left with the following questions: Are they on the shelves now? If not how will I know? When will the new cans BE on the shelves? and the million dollar question “What is the new lining made of?”  What if it ends up being worse than BPA?  Once upon a time BPA was “safe and viable” We know where that got us. So I called and here’s what I found out:

The 411: According to customer service rep I spoke to, who was quite helpful told me that the new harvest of tomatoes will be packaged in the new BPA Free lined cans.  The new BPA free canned tomatoes are not yet on the shelves.  They will also not be labelled BPA Free.  I asked “How will customers know which ones are which?”  He told me they will eventually be given a date of production and that all cans made after that date will be packaged in the BPA free cans.  As of right now they do not have that date of production available. The rep recommended I call back in February to obtain a date of production.

I also inquired about the new lining and all he was able to tell me was that it was a BPA Free non-epoxy lining.  Not entirely helpful but it was all he knew for now. I worry that a new lining will just lead to the same situation all over again that we have now with BPA.  What is it? How did they test it? This is what keeps me up at night.  I’m weird like that.

I was a little surprised when he asked me if I would like the cans to be labeled BPA Free.  I practically screamed YES into his ear and he said he would pass that information along to the company.  Hopefully is enough of us ask for it, that might actually happen and it will catch wind with other canned food makers.