Most food cans no longer use BPA in their linings

By Lisa McTigue Pierce in Food Packaging on February 20, 2018

At least 90% of today’s food cans have replaced linings that previously contained the controversial chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), according to the Can Manufacturers Institute. This is in reaction to market demands for more options in food safety.

Robert Budway, president of the Can Manufacturers Institute, says, “Can makers and can lining companies take very seriously our responsibility to provide safe, quality packaging that consumers trust. Safety is our number one priority and we’re proud to contribute to a healthy, affordable food supply in a way that reduces food waste and respects the environment.”

Food can linings now are typically made from acrylic and polyester. And all new materials are extensively tested and are cleared by regulatory agencies before being sold in the market. Linings are necessary to prevent the can from corroding, provide a barrier to bacteria and maintain food quality.

As with any packaging material, though, trace levels can migrate into the food contained within, which is why there were health concerns about BPA. Despite reassurances about the safety of BPA from the Food and Drug Administration, some research shows that even trace amounts of BPA might cause problems with reproductive, neurological and immune systems in humans and animals. [Click here to see the History of BPA.]

The CMI stresses the remarkable safety record of canned foods: “More than 3,000 people die and more than 40,000 are hospitalized from foodborne illnesses every year, yet there has not been a single reported incidence of foodborne illness from the failure of metal packaging in more than 40 years and the consumption of trillions of cans of food.”

Budway answers Packaging Digest’s questions about the development of new food can linings:


What is the source of the data that more than 90% of food cans have next-generation linings?

Budway: The Can Manufacturers Institute surveyed the industry, including can makers and can lining companies, to determine this percentage. We believe the percentage is likely somewhat higher than 90, but we erred on the side of caution so as to avoid overstating the progress made.


Why does this percentage continue to increase?

Budway: This percentage is increasing because when consumers made clear their preference to move away from BPA, the industry was eager to respond and committed to the research and testing necessary to find high-performing alternatives. Continual research is helping the industry innovate and find new options.


Have all these next-gen linings eliminated BPA?

Budway: Yes, all of the new linings are non-BPA.


What do you estimate the cost has been to can manufacturers to develop these new linings? How are those costs being handled? Are they being passed on to customers, absorbed, integrated into R&D budgets, something else?

Budway: It would be difficult to calculate the cost to develop these new linings because each company has invested extensively for years in the research and testing necessary to develop new linings. The cost is absorbed as part of doing business in an industry committed to being responsive to consumers and laser-focused on ensuring safety.


How do next-generation linings help companies meet sustainability goals?

Budway: Canned foods help to significantly offset food waste, which is the largest component of the landfill stream. It’s estimated that Americans waste 15% to 20% of the fresh fruits and vegetables they purchase every year. Not only do canned foods last longer, the trimmings, such as cores and peels, are used to feed livestock and create compost for healthier soil.



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I wonder if/when the beverage industry will adopt BPA free liners, as currently none has implemented such liner. Especially considering that consumption of canned beverages far exceeds that of canned foods.
So WHAT actually IS the Lining Now?
The linings are most likely closely related to BPA like BPS, BPF or vinyls compounds (BADGE, BFDGE). Those lining haven't been studied as much and are not known by the general public. Recent studies showed that they are potentially as harmful as BPA's. Companies can put out BPA free cans and give a false sense of security to their customers by switching to other compounds that are as bad but unknown.
Aldi stores sell spring water in plastic bottles that say right on them that they are BPA free
That doesn't mean much. Instead of BPA, they're using other potentially more harmful chemicals that aren't as safe as this article leads you to believe.
The problem is different sources gives different info on whether BPA is still in cans. Some say that BPA remain in most cans.
do cans even need to be lined then ?
NPR investigated the BPA alternatives for hardened plastics and the BPA alternatives were shown to leech estrogenic compounds more or less than BPA. “BPA free” is just a marketing scheme because the alternatives are just named differently and expose estrogenic compounds in a similar way to you and your child. Obviously the plastics industry is not going to do research on the alternative plastics, but use some logic and know that petroleum based compounds are all bad for living organisms.
There is also Bisphenol B, Z AF, AP, & S. All have same health issues and are able to be used and called BPA free. Move back to glass and get rid of plastic linings and deceptive marketing in food products.
Are companies serious about eliminating packaging materials made of plastics? This is a growing concern among millions of consumers who view the ubiquitous exposure to plastics in our oceans as a grave danger to all sealife and birds. Thank you, John Majeski [email protected]
Kind of seems like the best thing is to just go back to glass.