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Americas: 100% of canned food tested for BPA safe to consume, says Canada

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As part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) routine testing of various food products, a survey released today reported that all of the canned foods tested for Bisphenol A (BPA) were safe to consume.

The authority said BPA was not detected in 98.5% of canned foods analyzed in this survey.

In 2011-12, the CFIA tested 403 canned samples of domestic and imported fruits, vegetables, juices, other beverages, legumes, pasta, and soups for BPA, as these products are likely to be packaged in cans treated with epoxy coatings.

The imported samples came from 15 different countries.

Low levels (parts per billion or ppb) of BPA were detected in six of the canned food samples analyzed as part of this survey.

The survey results were reviewed by Health Canada and no safety concerns were identified.

They were comparable to those from previous surveys of BPA in similar types of foods available on the Canadian market.

No product recalls were required as a result of this survey.

Regulating BPA in Canada

BPA in food packaging materials is permitted in Canada.

BPA is a chemical used in the production of polycarbonate and epoxy resins.

Food and beverage packaging, particularly metal cans, may be internally coated with epoxy resins to protect food from direct contact with metal.

BPA can migrate from the epoxy coatings into food, particularly at elevated temperatures (for example, in hot-filled or heat-processed canned foods).

Based on the average concentration of BPA for the positive samples of canned vegetables from the latest survey, an adult would need to consume approximately 14 kg of canned vegetables each day (approximately 50 servings) to reach an exposure to BPA that may pose a safety concern.

Health Canada has concluded that the current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children.

This conclusion has been re-affirmed by other international food regulatory agencies, such as those in the US and the European Union.