Monday, January 3, 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to can your own food...

This may be a tired subject for some people, but not everyone has heard about it.

So, you know about BPA? That's Bisphenol A. It's an organic compound used in a lot of products, and has been for some time I guess. Recent research has begun to show that this stuff is bad. It is banned as a toxic substance in Canada and several places ban its use in baby bottles. Yes. Baby bottles.

But my post isn't about baby bottles - because BPA is also present in canning jars. It's in the white stuff on the lid. I swiped the following quote from (and they swiped it from elsewhere, etc):

Jarden Home Brands manufacturer of home canning lids: Ball, Kerr, Golden Harvest, and Bernardin brands follow the same rigorous FDA standards used by the commercial food packaging industry. Like the majority of commercial food packagers using glass jars with metal closures and metal sanitary cans, the coating on our home canning lids is designed to protect the metal from reacting with the food it contains. A small amount of Bisphenol A is present in the coating. The FDA does not limit Bisphenol A in commercially packaged foods, and is aligned with the international scientific community’s position that a small amount of Bisphenol A in contact with “canned foods” is not a health concern for the general public.

Uh... not a health concern!?!? I've heard about a few studies and it's shocking all the things that could be linked to BPA. And frankly, I don't trust the FDA at all. I'd like to be in charge of what chemicals and toxins go into my body, thank you very much!

Jeremy and I started hearing about this a year or two ago and we haven't been sure what to do. Many people are shifting over to Weck jars. They are all glass (no BPA) and are fantastically beautiful. Unfortunately, they're fantastically expensive! We've got dozens and dozens and dozens of jars - we could never afford to replace them all.

So I did a little research a month or two ago and found Tattler Reusable Canning Jar Lids. BPA free! There is a plastic lid and a rubber ring that fit onto it for the lid. You can still use the same metal ring as with canning. And this lid is reusable!

I hate the huge pile of used canning lids we have that can't be used again. In fact, I think I'm going to box them up and send them back to Kerr/Ball and ask if they'd kindly stop using BPA!

Anyway, we put the lids on our wish list and got a whole box full for Christmas! Wahoo! It's pretty likely we won't be canning until this summer (unless we get the energy to can some soup or chicken broth) so I'll let you know how these work when we first use them. In the meantime, I thought this review was very helpful.

So hopefully now it is safe to can again...


Anna said...

I just found out about the BPA in the lids this year, after I finished most of my canning. Very disappointing. I wish I could afford a bunch of weck jars. I am thinking about doing marmalade this winter (not very local, but I have the urge to try it) I will definitely look into getting some of the tattler lids for my next canning project.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this info. Good to know ,also thanks for the links to solutions for this problem. Dianne

Julie said...

Thanks for the info! My husband and I were wondering about that because we know that tomato cans have BPA and look similar. But, I didn't know of any alternative. I always thought throughing the lids away were a waste too.