The nation’s second-largest grocery store chain (behind WalMart) made a big splash on the Bisphenol-A (BPA) safety debate this week, when it announced the chemical is being removed from products on its shelves as well as its receipts.
The Kroger Co.’s release
said the FDA hasn’t yet deemed the estrogen-disrupting chemical unsafe for humans, but that BPA was of concern to some consumers—hence the ban.
Products used by babies and toddlers that are sold at Kroger stores are already free of BPA. BPA removal is in the works for Kroger brand canned goods, and the chain has asked suppliers to determine whether BPA is present in product packaging—and if it is, to work on getting rid of it. Many Kroger stores now use BPA-free receipts; all receipt tape will be BPA-free by the end of 2011.
Kroger’s move is an interesting and admirable response to consumers’ concerns (the power of the purchasing dollar illustrated once again!), but is replacing BPA a magic bullet? Critics warn, no—because replacement chemicals are equally untested and may not be any safer, or may even have more EA (estrogenic activity) than BPA. See my colleague Melaina Juntti’s blog on this here
And read a study here
by scientists at the University of Texas and Georgetown University here. Researchers found EA in almost all 450 plastic items tested, even BPA-free products, they said, can leach EA chemicals during everyday use, due to UV light, microwaves, heat or freezing.
Bottom line: Manufacturers need to look into using more glass (as Eden Foods
has done with its organic tomatoes and sauerkraut) and find other inert packaging materials. (And we need to demand that our government test chemicals before introducing them to our food chain.)