In an article published on August 29, 2016 by news provider Food Dive, journalist Carolyn Heneghan reports on the challenges food companies are facing in the quest for replacements for bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7) in their food packaging. BPA is commonly found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins used in plastic bottles and metal can linings, Heneghan explains. BPA can leach from the packaging into food and there is mounting scientific evidence associating exposure to BPA with various adverse health effects. This has sparked consumer concerns and food companies such as Campbell, Del Monte, and ConAgra are now responding to consumer preferences for BPA-free packaging, Heneghan writes. However, developing appropriate alternatives for BPA has proven to be a challenging task. According to Mike Schade of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, it is important to avoid “regrettable substitutes.” For example, polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based polymers as an alternative to BPA-based epoxy may not be safer “because from production to disposal, PVC is considered to be a hazardous plastic,” Schade states. Also, styrene-based resins are questionable because styrene is a potential carcinogen. Further, manufacturers need to consider the chemistry of their food (e.g. acidity of different products) and reactions with the can lining, the cost of new lining materials (mostly higher than BPA), as well as the supply of the new materials to meet the manufacturer’s demands. Companies Del Monte and Campbell have found some suitable alternatives to meet their products’ needs and consumers’ demands, Heneghan reports: Del Monte has converted to polyester and vinyl materials and Campbell has introduced can linings made from acrylic or polyester materials.
Carolyn Heneghan (August 29, 2016). “Nobody likes BPA, but replacing it can be difficult.” Food Dive