In 2012, Campbell's Soup Company made the announcement that it would phase out BPA in all its canned foods. What the company didn't announce at the time was when it would start eliminating the controversial chemical from the lining of cans or what it would replace it with.
BPA, or bisphenol A, is commonly used to line cans to prevent the contents from corroding the metal in the can. However, the chemical has been linked to various health issues such as breast cancer, childhood obesity, asthma, tooth decay and risk of miscarriage. While the FDA says there is no risk from BPA in low-dose exposure, consumers are understandably concerned about this chemical and want it out of the lining of cans.
Since Campbell's first BPA announcement was four years ago, it seemed like the company had quietly gone back on its promise. On March 28, Campbell's made another BPA announcement, this time with a clear timeline and details about what the BPA linings would be replaced with.
Campbell's plans to complete a transition to cans with BPA-free linings by the middle of 2017. Earlier this month the company began using cans with acrylic or polyester materials in the lining, and it will continue to do so throughout the United States and Canada until all cans are switched over.
The company says the 2012 announcement was in response to consumer feedback, and since then it has "tested hundreds of alternatives," making sure it could find linings that work safely with "more than 600 different recipes, such as its tomato-based products, which are naturally acidic and can react with some linings over time."
About 75 percent of Campbell's soups will be in non-BPA cans by December 2016. The additional soups, as well as other packaging like the aluminum cans used for V8 beverages and metal screw top lids on glass jars are on track to be BPA-free by the middle of 2017.
There are some details missing from the announcement that I'd like to know. It doesn't give any timeline for phasing out BPA in other countries. (The company's products are sold in 100 countries.) The announcement also doesn't give details about the new linings aside from what they're made of. What has Campbell's learned during the four years of research that leads them to believe these linings are safer? And finally, it's unclear which products have already made the switch to BPA-free cans.
What is clear, though, is that Campbell's is listening to consumers and making changes based on what they want. Earlier this year, the company broke with other big food manufacturers and called for mandatory GMO labeling on food packaging, promising to label GMOs independently if the federal government did not create a standard. Before that announcement, Campbell's already had the What's In My Food website operational, which gives GMO information and other ingredient information on many of the company's most popular foods.