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ARCHIVED - Survey of Bisphenol A in Canned Food Products from Canadian Markets

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Cat.: H164-79/5-2010E-PDF
ISBN: 978-1-100-16029-0

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Bureau of Chemical Safety
Food Directorate
Health Products and Food Branch

A WHO Collaborating Centre for Food Contamination Monitoring

June, 2010

Health Canada is the federal department responsible for helping the people of Canada maintain and improve their health. We assess the safety of drugs and many consumer products, help improve the safety of food, and provide information to Canadians to help them make healthy decisions. We provide health services to First Nations people and to Inuit communities. We work with the provinces to ensure our health care system serves the needs of Canadians.

Table of Contents

Background

Bisphenol A (BPA) is the common name for 2,2-(4,4'-dihydroxydiphenyl)propane, 4,4'-isopropylidenediphenol, or 2,2'-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)propane. It is used as an intermediate in the production of epoxy resins which are used in the internal coating for food and beverage cans to protect the food from direct contact with metal. BPA can migrate from cans with epoxy coating into foods, especially at elevated temperatures (for example, for hot-fill or heat-processed canned foods). BPA is one of the 23000 chemical substances on the CEPA (Canadian Environmental Protection Act) Domestic Substance List (DSL) identified for further evaluation under government of Canada's Chemical Management Plan (CMP).

BPA was included in Next link will take you to another Web site Batch 2 of the Challenge under CMP carried out by Health Canada and Environment Canada. On October 18, 2008, the Government of Canada released its final assessment report, including the Government's proposed risk management approaches to reduce Canadian exposure to BPA. Health Canada has committed to a research and monitoring agenda to further investigate potential human health effects of BPA and improve its understanding of Canadian exposure to this chemical through food sources. The purpose of this survey was to gather occurrence levels of BPA in canned food products available for sale in Canada to contribute in updating the BPA exposure estimate for Canadians.

Sampling Plan and Analytical Methodology

This survey examined samples from 78 canned food products marketed under a variety of brands. The products were purchased in April 2009 from local grocery stores in Ottawa. These products covered a variety of domestic and imported foods, including one canned pasta product, 15 canned vegetable products of seven brands, six canned tomato paste products of four brands, 41 canned soup products of five brands, and 15 canned tuna products of four brands. Among the 41 canned soup products, 29 were concentrated and 12 were ready to serve.

Health Canada continually works to develop more sensitive methods with detection limits as low as possible for the determination of chemicals in foods in order to support more accurate human exposure assessments. For this survey, an analytical method based on gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), developed previously for the determination of BPA in various food samples, was adapted and employed for the analysis of canned food samples for BPA. The average method detection limit (MDL) was 0.60 ng/g. The results of the analyses for each canned food product collected are shown in Table 1.

Notes:

  • All canned food samples were tested as purchased. Some results have been adjusted to account for the product-recommended dilution factor and represent as consumed levels.
  • It should be noted that the absence of any particular brand from this survey means only that the brand was not included in the survey. No particular inference should be drawn from the presence or absence of any brand.
  • Samples represent a "snapshot" of the market at the time of sampling and do not represent market share. Product names and availability correspond to the time of sampling and may not represent current products on the market. Differences between brands do not necessarily reflect differences in consumer exposure to BPA.
  • The results shown in Table 1 are generated for research purposes and should not be considered as representative of the distribution of BPA in canned food products or to assist or guide product choices for consumers.
  • All samples were analysed before their expiry dates.
  • Results from this survey represent single samples analyzed in duplicate. The values in the table are the averages of those duplicates.

BPA Levels in Canned Food Products

Table 1 summarizes the results of the analysis for BPA in samples from canned food products. BPA was detected in almost all 78 canned food products; the BPA level in only one product (tomato paste) was below the method detection limit (MDL) of 0.60 ng/g.

Canned tuna products had the highest BPA levels, in general, with average and maximum BPA levels of 137 and 534 ng/g, respectively. Canned soup products had the next highest BPA levels. BPA levels in the condensed soup products were considerably higher than those in the ready-to-serve soup products, with average and maximum BPA levels of 52 and 94 ng/g for the condensed soup compared to 15 and 34 ng/g for the ready-to-serve soup.

BPA levels in canned tomato paste products were considerably lower. The average and maximum BPA levels for the tomato paste products were 1.1 and 2.1 ng/g, while they were 9.3 and 23 ng/g for the pure tomato products.

On average, the BPA levels observed in the vast majority of samples within this survey are consistent with those of past surveys and are not considered to represent a human health concern. Health Canada continues to work with the food packaging industry to better identify the factors which may influence BPA migration to food, with a goal to limit human exposure to BPA to the greatest extent possible.

Health Significance of the Survey Results

In March, 2008, Health Canada's Food Directorate completed a Health Risk Assessment of BPA from food packaging applications to determine exposure estimates to BPA. Health Canada's Food Directorate 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 infants.

In view of uncertainties related to possible neurodevelopmental and behavioural effects that BPA may have in experimental animals, Health Canada's Food Directorate has recommended that precaution be exerted on products consumed by the sensitive subset of the population, i.e. infants and newborns, by applying the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle to reduce their exposure to BPA through food packaging applications.

Other international food regulatory agencies - notably in the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia-New Zealand - have reviewed the "Health Risk Assessment of Bisphenol A from Food Packaging Applications", prepared by Health Canada's Food Directorate, and have confirmed that the conclusions reached are supported by the current scientific evidence as described in the document.

Table 1: Concentrations (ng/g) of BPA in canned food products as consumed

  • It should be noted that the absence of any particular brand from this survey means only that the brand was not included in the survey. No particular inference should be drawn from the presence or absence of any brand.
  • Samples represent a "snapshot" of the market and do not represent market share. Product names and availability correspond to the time of sampling and may not represent current products on the market. Differences between brands do not necessarily reflect differences in consumer exposure to BPA.

  • The results shown in the table are exploratory and should not be used to indicate the distribution of BPA in canned food products or to assist or guide product choices for consumers.
Table 1: Concentrations nanogram per gram of Bisphenol A in canned food products as consumed
Company / Manufacturer Brand name Product Description Type BPA Concentration (ng/g)
Aliments Caneast Foods Ltd. Riviera Pieces and Stems Mushrooms Vegetable 5.2
Aurora Importing & Distributing Ltd. Aurora Diced Tomatoes Vegetable 23
Baxters Canada Inc. Baxters Chicken & Vegetable Soup, Low Fat, Ready to Serve Soup 10
Vegetable Soup, Low Fat, Ready to Serve Soup 11
Lentil & Smokey Bacon Soup, Low Fat, Ready to Serve Soup 10
Primo Roasted Chicken & Noodle, Low Fat, 30% Less Sodium, Ready to Serve Soup 13
Beef Barley, Low Fat, 40% Less Sodium, Ready to Serve Soup 14
Lentil, Low Fat, 50% Less Sodium Than Our Previous Lentil, Ready to Serve Soup 14
Campbell Company of Canada Campbell's Chicken Broth, Fat Free, 25% Less Salt, Condensed Soup 60
Chicken Broth, Fat Free, Condensed Soup 61.5
Consomme Broth, Fat Free, Condensed Soup 74.5
Beef Broth, Fat Free, Condensed Soup 46
Chicken Gumbo, Low in Fat, Condensed Soup 51.5
Chicken with Rice, Low in Fat, Condensed Soup 65
Chicken Noodle, Condensed Soup 33
Vegetable Beef, Low in Fat, Condensed Soup 67
Beef with Vegetables & Barley, Low in Fat, Condensed Soup 55.5
Bean with Bacon, Low in Fat, Condensed Soup 71.5
Cream of Broccoli & Cheese, Condensed Soup 69
Cream of Asparagus, Condensed Soup 55.5
Cream of Celery, Low Fat, Condensed Soup 91.5
Cream of Celery, Condensed Soup 94.5
Cream of Chicken, Condensed Soup 33.5
Cream of Chicken, Low Fat, Condensed Soup 52.5
Cream of Wild Mushroom, Condensed Soup 68
Cream of Mushroom, Condensed Soup 78
Cream of Broccoli, Low Fat, Condensed Soup 43
Tomato Soup, Condensed Soup 2.05
Tomato with Basil & Oregano, Condensed Soup 18
Onion , Low in Fat, Condensed Soup 61
Vegetable, Condensed Soup 84
Vegetable with Pasta, Low in Fat, Condensed Soup 63.5
French Canadian Style Pea, Low in Fat, Condensed Soup 33
Chicken Noodle, Low in Fat, Ready to Serve Soup 10
Herbed Chicken with Rice, Low in Fat, Ready to Serve Soup 11
New England Clam Chowder, 25% Less Sodium, Low Fat, Ready to Serve Soup 11
Tomato Garden Vegetable, Whole Grain Pasta, 25% Less Sodium, Fat Free, Ready to Serve Soup 11
Chunky Chicken Soup, Ready to Serve, Low in Fat Soup 30
Chunky Prime Rib with Vegetables, 25% Less Salt, Ready to Serve Soup 34
Cangro Foods Inc. Aylmer Diced Tomatoes with Italian Spices Vegetable 8.4
Del Monte Cut Green Beans Vegetable 14
Cream Style Corn Vegetable 7.3
Zucchini Vegetable 11
Clover Leaf Seafoods Clover Leaf Flaked Light Tuna, Sundried Tomato & Basil Tuna 39
Flaked Light Tuna, Dill & Lemon Tuna 56
Solid Light Tuna in Olive Oil Tuna 55
Flaked Light Tuna in Water Tuna 534
Flaked White Tuna in Water Tuna 12
Solid White Tuna, Low Sodium in Water Tuna 30
Flaked White Tuna, Vegetable Broth & Oil Tuna 22
Chunk Light Tuna in Water Tuna 507
Chunk Light Tuna in Water Tuna 32
ConAgra Foods Canada Inc. Chef Boyardee Spaghetti & Meat Balls in Tomato Sauce Pasta 32
Hunt's Tomato Paste, Garlic Tomato Paste 2.1
Tomato Paste, No Salt Added Tomato Paste 1.3
Tomato Paste, Herbs and Spices Tomato Paste 1.1
General Mills Canada Corp Green Giant Cream Style Corn Made with Niblets Vegetable 92
Cut Green Beans, 1/3 Less Salt Vegetable 38
Loblaws Inc. Bella Tavola Tomato Paste Tomato Paste <MDL
No Name Tomato Paste Tomato Paste 0.82
Chunk Light Tuna in Water Tuna 9
Flaked Light Tuna, Tomato Basil Tuna 49
Flaked Light Tuna, Spicy Thai Chilli Tuna 237
Beef Broth, Fat-free, Condensed Soup 11.5
Chicken & Rice, Condensed Soup 14
Cream of Mushroom, Reduced Fat, Condensed Soup 44.5
Whole-Style Cut Carrots Vegetable 9.1
Assorted Sizes Asparagus Tips Vegetable 9.1
Whole Mushrooms Vegetable 57
President's Choice Cream of Tomato with Parmesan & Basil, Condensed Soup 18
Solid White Tuna in Water Tuna 216
Chunk Light Tuna in Water Tuna 189
Whole Tomatoes Vegetable 4.3
Diced Tomatoes, No Salt Added Vegetable 5.2
Cut Green Beans, No Salt Added Vegetable 8.9
Unico Inc. Unico Tomato Paste Tomato Paste 0.79
Solid Light Tuna Tuna 62
Tomatoes Vegetable 5.7

Additional Information

For more information, please contact the Bureau of Chemical Safety.

Footnotes

ng/g is equivalent to 1 part per billion (ppb).

Results are displayed in Table 1 as consumed.

Health Risk Assessment of Bisphenol A from Food Packaging Applications. ISBN: 978-0-662-48686-2