Alternative packaging

Last reviewed: December 2009

Our tests of cans found that the majority were lined with an epoxy-based material, which is normally made with BPA. But a handful had a nonepoxy-based liner. Those findings along with the BPA results suggest that bypassing metal cans in favor of other packaging such as plastic containers or bags might lower but not eliminate exposure to BPA in those foods, although this wasn't true for all of the products we tested.

For instance, Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup in plastic packaging contained detectable amounts of BPA but at levels that were significantly lower than the same brand of soup in the can. The StarKist Chunk Light canned tuna we tested averaged 3 ppb of BPA, but BPA levels in the same brand in a plastic pouch weren't measurable. We tested Bird's Eye Steam Fresh Cut Green Beans, frozen in a plastic bag, analyzing three samples as packaged and another three samples after microwaving in the bag. We found all contained very low levels of BPA, about 1 ppb or less.

The samples of Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli in Tomato and Meat Sauce packaged in a plastic container with a metal peel-off lid had BPA levels 1.5 times higher than the same brand of food in metal cans. Our test of the metal peel-back lid revealed that the inner coating is epoxy-based.

We tested two products that their manufacturers claimed were packaged in BPA-free cans and found the chemical in both of the foods. Although tests of the inside of the cans found that the liners were not epoxy-based, Vital Choice's tuna in "BPA-free" cans was found to contain an average of 20 ppb of BPA and Eden Baked Beans averaged 1 ppb.