Test: Bisphenol A still found in canned peeled tomatoes

18. mar 2016

A new test shows that 5 of 8 cans with peeled tomatoes contained the endocrine disrupting substance bisphenol A in the lacquer on the inside of the cans. The content was below the European limit value. However, the limit value does not take the cocktail effect into account.


Tomatoes test bisphenol A
Photo: Anne Beck Christensen

Spaghetti with meatballs is a favorite dish in many families with children. It is easy and quick to cook, the children love it, and the parents can successfully slip a few finely chopped vegetable into the mix.

But consumers also risk using peeled tomatoes that have been in contact with the endocrine disrupting substance bisphenol A in the can. That is the conclusion of a test from the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

5 of 8 cans in the test contained the substance in the lacquer on the inside of the can.

“The manufacturers comply with the European limit value. But in assessing the limit values the EU does not take into account that the consumers are exposed to many different substances from many different sources which also can have similar endocrine disrupting effects – this is known as the cocktail effect. This lack of inclusion means that the risk becomes under estimated,” says Stine Müller, project manager in the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

She hopes that more companies will take the lead and phase out the substance even though they are already complying with the law.

“Endocrine disrupting substances is an area where we need strong companies to help the consumers to avoid these substances. Even though the EU is working on several regulations these are still not protecting the consumers sufficiently,” says Stine Müller.

Bisphenol A is suspected to be endocrine disrupting and the substance is about to be classified as being harmful for the ability to have children. Especially vulnerable to the substance are children and fetuses.

In Denmark the substance is banned in food packaging for children from 0 to 3 years of age.

Bisphenol A can migrate into tomatoes

The laboratory test from the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has only examined the content of bisphenol A in the can – not in the tomatoes. But earlier studies have shown content of the endocrine disrupting chemical in canned foods for example peeled tomatoes.

“The contact between the lacquer in the can and the tomatoes is close and over a long time-span. The shelf life of the canned peeled tomatoes is long up to 3 years and this makes it very likely that the substance can migrate into the food,” says Stine Müller about the test results.

The findings in the cans with peeled tomatoes are worth noticing since recent tests from the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals have not shown traces of bisphenol A in cans for other foods such as canned mackerel.

3 types of canned peeled tomatoes are recommended

The cans from Freshona, Mutti and De Gecco did not show traces of bisphenol A. They receive a recommendation from the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.


For more information:

Mrs Stine Müller, sm@fbr.dk                                             

Project Officer, Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals