Which companies are banishing BPA in food packaging?

By SIEL JU

Mother Nature Network (mnn.com)

Our government may not have done much to ban or regulate the use of BPA in our food packaging, but apparently, some companies are taking the initiative to banish BPA.

These companies aren’t just the mom-and-pop home kitchen jam shops or smaller eco-friendly food companies. Biggies like Hain Celestial, ConAgra, and H.J. Heinz all got A’s for their leadership in getting BPA out of their packaging.

Who awarded these grades? That would be Green Century Capital Management, an investment advisory firm that administrates the Green Century Funds, a family of environmentally responsible mutual funds. Green Century recently released a report, Seeking Safer Packaging (www.greencentury.com/bpareport2010.pdf), that grades companies on their BPA-related actions and initiatives.

But before you open that can of Chef Boyardee (owned by ConAgra), be aware that an A grade doesn’t mean the company’s products are BPA-free. To get an A, companies only need to have started phasing BPA out of SOME of their packaging while also committing to a concrete timeline for phasing out all the BPA.

Do you think Green Century graded on a curve? Perhaps the A’s were generous, but keep in mind that most of the companies Green Century graded were total flunkies. Coca-Cola, Del Monte, Kraft, Unilever, Kroger, Safeway, Supervalu and Wal-Mart all scored F’s. According to Green Century’s report, “Most of these companies are exploring substitutes for BPA to some degree but do not commit to phasing out the chemical, are not funding the exploration of substitutes, and fail to sufficiently disclose information about how they are addressing consumer concern on the issue.”

Somewhat surprising may be Whole Foods’ D+ grade for its private label brand – the same grade as less green-tinted companies Kellogg and Dean’s Foods. However, that D+ still put Whole Foods in the top spot among retailers! The report says Whole Foods has “good transparency” on its BPA policies – “but has not demonstrated that it is actively testing any BPA-free options for its private-label cans despite a commitment to eliminate the chemical from packaging.”

I have my Roth IRA with Green Century – though ashamed to admit I haven’t contributed any green to it in years! I am, however, proud that this BPA report doesn’t worry me as much as it would have several years ago – because I’ve since pretty much phased out canned food from my life.

And Green Century: As an account holder, I’d like to request that you look into another BPA issue next: BPA on cash register receipts.

If you’re wondering about the methodology behind the grading system, there’s an explanation on page 13 from the link above, if you’re interested.

Siel Ju is a Hollywood socialite with a Ph.D., who blogs about health, beauty and life at www.mnn.com/featured-blogs/greenliving.

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