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January 11th, 2010

BPA, Babies, Bum-outs, and… Tomato Sauce?

by Tim, 6 Comments »

Just recently I was having a conversation with my sister and brother-in-law and the subject of BPA came up (Bisphenol A). We were discussing it since I am about to be an uncle for the third time : ) and they are making sure to get BPA free bottles and containers, etc.

Bisphenol A has been linked to abnormal reproductive development and shown to disrupt the hormonal system which can potentially lead to brain damage, cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and the list goes on. My bro-in-law was saying how it is a very well known fact about baby products and BPA. Well. I am unmarried and male, so naturally I am not paying attention to baby stuff… except health articles that pop up. And such was the case.

The issue has become even more in the public eye the past year and the state of Minnesota banned the use of BPA in food containers intended for children 3 and younger.

Personally, I haven’t addressed this issue and I am going to. That is probably why I am writing this right now. But isn’t it strange how these types of things make us feel? Maybe it is just me, but it is kind of a bum out, you know? For example, one of the worst offenders of BPA leaching is from highly acidic foods… like tomatoes. While I do not eat canned foods because, first of all, I think they taste bad, but also they are more processed and fresh food is nutritionally superior, well, what I do buy is organic whole tomatoes and occasionally organic canned black beans (usually I buy most of my beans dried in bulk).

After so many years of doing something it is a bummer when you realize certain things. I realize that most people will not change unless they see their need. They will not think they need something until they find themselves in a desperate situation. We all are like that… we will not seek that which is good until we are faced with dire straits. Well I am changing because of previous dire straits and I learned my lesson. I learned that it is much easier to change when you are not in dire straits than when you are.

Sometimes many of the traditions that we grow up with or personal habits that we have accumulated are things that are not very healthy for us mentally or physically… and we are just ignorant of it. Then, when we are faced with a confrontation about it, our pride is hurt. The pride of it makes change all the more difficult. It’s like when I made the change from Teflon coated pans… ok, maybe not… that was pretty easy.

I grew up eating and making homemade tomato sauce. Oh. Bother. Tomato sauce is my problem.

There are good options available. I like how the president of Eden Foods has been proactive in their approach and they (at a higher cost) have BPA free cans for everything but their tomatoes. Also, you can look for glass jars, like Luccini, which happen to be very expensive : ). BUT, the best option is to make it fresh and also have some excellent tomatoes from the summer stored away for winter (frozen or jarred). Not too long ago, my sister gave me some fresh homegrown tomatoes that she had peeled and frozen and they made some of the best sauce I have had yet. They were bursting with flavor. Bursting I tell you. So I am going to experiment a little more with that and see what I can do. And as canned tomatoes seem to be my most formidable BPA opponent, they’re going down.

It seems rather easy to avoid the ills of processed food by eating fresh food and if processing needs to be done, do it yourself. Who woulda thunk it? But then again, who has the time, who has the time.

Some additional reading regarding the issue:
Tests Find WIDE Range of Bisphenol A in Canned Soups, Juice, and More
Drinking From Plastic Raises BPA Levels 70 percent
BPA in canned food awaits FDA decision





  • It is totally a bum out. And while resistance to change on issues like this is partly pride, I think it's also a lot of other things – laziness for one. In theory I really want to never eat processed foods again, but then I'll be hungry one night and too tired to put what feels like a lot of effort into something, so I'll just grab what feels more mindless. ANd also there's this feeling of like, how do you keep up with it all? There are always new things to worry about, food or otherwise.

    Interesting about BPA, which I have never heard of. OK and Eden Foods has BPA-free jars in everything but tomatoes? Weren't tomatoes one of the biggest offenders?

  • Yeah, you are right, there are other things that play into it too… like laziness. For me I control that by what I have in the house though… it all depends what is in the cupboards : )

    As far as keeping up with it… it is not really much harder than knowing what it is that you are eating. So I don't have to know every single thing that is coming out… just what I am using and eating. So if I want tomatoes, it is first my responsibility to make a purchase that will not harm me or my family, to the best of my ability.

    Yeah, Eden Foods has BPA-free cans in everything but tomatoes because tomatoes are so acidic that they eat away the lining on older traditional can linings… the FDA has only approved BPA lining for canned tomatoes, since it holds up better… and yet at the same time it is still present in the product. That's why they are reviewing the toxicity levels of BPA in foods.

    I don't mean to make this a cause of anxiety. There are a gazillion things that could cause anxiety. I am not living with terrible anxiety over the things I eat. I just learn and grow and change… for the better. Hopefully I will be doing that for the rest of my life (in all areas, many of which are much more important than food).

  • It is totally a bum out. And while resistance to change on issues like this is partly pride, I think it's also a lot of other things – laziness for one. In theory I really want to never eat processed foods again, but then I'll be hungry one night and too tired to put what feels like a lot of effort into something, so I'll just grab what feels more mindless. ANd also there's this feeling of like, how do you keep up with it all? There are always new things to worry about, food or otherwise.

    Interesting about BPA, which I have never heard of. OK and Eden Foods has BPA-free jars in everything but tomatoes? Weren't tomatoes one of the biggest offenders?

  • Yeah, you are right, there are other things that play into it too… like laziness. For me I control that by what I have in the house though… it all depends what is in the cupboards : )

    As far as keeping up with it… it is not really much harder than knowing what it is that you are eating. So I don't have to know every single thing that is coming out… just what I am using and eating. So if I want tomatoes, it is first my responsibility to make a purchase that will not harm me or my family, to the best of my ability.

    Yeah, Eden Foods has BPA-free cans in everything but tomatoes because tomatoes are so acidic that they eat away the lining on older traditional can linings… the FDA has only approved BPA lining for canned tomatoes, since it holds up better… and yet at the same time it is still present in the product. That's why they are reviewing the toxicity levels of BPA in foods.

    I don't mean to make this a cause of anxiety. There are a gazillion things that could cause anxiety. I am not living with terrible anxiety over the things I eat. I just learn and grow and change… for the better. Hopefully I will be doing that for the rest of my life (in all areas, many of which are much more important than food).

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