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Friday, September 26, 2008

Trader Joe's cardboard boxes BPA-free

Following up on the last post, in which I said I'd post the response from Trader Joe's when they got back to me about whether the cardboard containers for things like chicken broth and tomatoes contained BPA.

I'm pretty sure I've attained "crazy health scare lady" status in the customer service office over there, but it's worth it because I've discovered a BPA-free, reasonably priced, and domestically grown and produced alternative to canned tomatoes. Bring on the big Italian meals!

Here's the response from Nicki at Trader Joe's (response from September 26, 2008):

The Trader Joe's products that are in carton like boxes (soy
milks,broths,etc..,) do not contain BPA. These are manufactured in foil lined cardboard material containers. I hope this helps you with your concerns and we are here if you have any other questions.

BPA liners in cans at Trader Joe's

I use canned beans and tomatoes regularly in cooking, but have become increasingly concerned with the BPA liners. So I was researching which, if any, brands don't have the liners, and kept coming across claims that Trader Joe's didn't use BPA liners in their cans.

I really like Trader Joe's, have been shopping there for more than a decade, and buy almost all my canned pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, canned tomatoes, and white beans there. For a while I relied on the second-hand reports, drifting along on the hope that the company didn't sell BPA-lined canned products.

The other day, I finally got around to asking them first-hand. I'll paste the important parts of the response below, but summarize by saying that, though some canned products (most notably the canned meats), don't have BPA liners, products like tomatoes and beans do.

What does that mean for my habits? Well, I now feel compelled to start using more dried beans. In his book How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, Mark Bittman offers handy tips for speeding up the soaking/cooking dried beans process, so I'll probably check that out. He also recently wrote a NYT article singing the praises of reanimating your own garbanzos, which gives me more reason to make the switch.

As far as the canned tomatoes go, I've been slowly switching over to those in glass jars or those waxed cardboard packs (I've written to TJ's to see if they have any BPA in them-I'll post that response too). Right now it's a moot point because it's tomato season, but as summer fades, I'll be turning to preserved options again.

So here's the Trader Joe's response, received on September 25, 2008:

To be clear, we do have canned items with linings that contain BPA and in this way we are in the same position as all other retail grocers.
Canned items in our stores WITH BPA lining in the cans: beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce & paste, soups, chili, and stew. Canned items in our stores that DO NOT have BPA lining in the cans: seafood (tuna, salmon, herring, sardines, etc.), chicken, turkey & beef.