BPA or Bisphenol A is a hot topic these days with health conscious consumers and petsumers.  Pet owners, concerned about the risks associated with BPA are contacting their pet food companies asking if canned pet foods contain the chemical.  However, many Pet Food answers to the BPA questions seem to be as varied as pet food itself.  Which pet food companies are using BPA lined cans and which are not…you judge by their responses and the available information.

The studies proving the risks of BPA (Bisphenol A or BADGE) have been piling up over recent years.   Concerned pet owners struggling to find safe canned foods for their dog or cat continue to question their pet food company.

Nona is a cat lover extremely concerned with BPA linings in canned cat food.  She wrote Evangers Pet Foods and was told the following…
I subscribe to Petsumer Reports online and they are reporting that your cans contain a BPA lining. Is this true?

Veterinary researchers have found a link between BPA in cat food cans and hyperthyroidism in cats and BPA is regulated by the European Union.

I would love to purchase some of your products, but I don’t feed any dry food to my cats and I won’t purchase any canned food that is contaminated by BPA.

Thank you.

Nona W

The next day Nona received the following response from Evangers Pet Food…
Greetings Nona,
Evanger’s contacted our can supplier who assured us that our cans are indeed BPA free.
I hope this helps you during your search for a quality canned food for your cats.

All the best,
-Chelsea Sher

That’s when Nona emailed me asking if what Evangers was telling her was true and perhaps Petsumer wasn’t aware of the BPA free cans used by Evangers.  So…I called them.  This was our conversation…

Do your canned pet foods contain a BPA lining?
Are you sure…I thought only the small cans of pet food are available without a BPA lining?
Uh, yes.
So, your smaller cans are BPA free but your larger cans do indeed have a BPA lining, is this correct?
Uh, yes.

When I emailed Nona about my conversation with Evangers, she was more than a little perplexed at the conflicting answers.  So, she wrote them again…

A friend of mine called Evangers and someone at your company admitted that some of Evangers cans are lined with BPA.

If Evangers is being dishonest in your responses regarding this question, I certainly won’t be able to trust the other ingredients in your pet food.

Which of your cans contain BPA (aka BADGE, Bisphenol-A) and which don’t?

Will someone please be honest?

Nona W

And here is their response…

Greetings Nona,
Until recently the cans that were BPA free were our 5.5 and 6 oz cans.  However, we recently switched our 13 oz cans to a BPA free can as well.  Therefore, your friend may have spoken with us before or during the time of our transition, in which case he or she received accurate information.
We certainly hope this answers your questions.  Please feel free to contact me again if you have any other questions.

-Chelsea Sher

So, what’s going on here?  Is this customer service rep at Evangers hopelessly confused?

Another phone call (from me) to Evangers went as follows…

Do your canned foods contain a BPA lining?
Only the small cans; the 5 ounce and 6 ounce cans are BPA free.  There are no options for pet food companies with the large cans; we can’t find BPA free cans.  The large cans do have the lowest amount of BPA possible.

This was an honest and clear answer (unlike previous replies).

As I’ve been told by numerous pet food companies…’there are no options for pet food companies with the large cans’; this is/was my understanding.  But…

Then I learned about Eden Foods, known as the pioneer of BPA free cans.  In a July 2009 article, Eden Foods told HuffingtonPost.com they began a mission in 1997 to learn if their foods (people foods) were packaged in BPA lined cans; president Mike Potter was perplexed no one could tell him if the risk chemical was in his cans…not even the companies he purchased the cans from!

“I made hundreds of phone calls to these three manufacturers,” he said. “Remarkably, I couldn’t find out if it was in the cans I was using or not.”
“The can companies didn’t have to disclose what chemicals they were using as long as they claimed it was a trade secret.”  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nena-baker/how-eden-foods-pioneered_b_232135.html

Turns out…Ball Corporation, the very same company your grandmother used to purchase her ‘canning’ supplies from, found Eden Foods an alternative can lining.  The switch to safer cans cost Eden Foods 14% more; “hundred of thousands of dollars a year for us” – a great deal of money for a small company in a highly competitive business.

So…back to pet food…what are pet food companies telling their customers about their canned food liners?  If one pet food company was providing conflicting information, would others?  Here are responses from numerous pet food companies…

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
“Chicken Soup canned food cans do not contain BPA.”

Healthy Pet Net
“We do not use BADGE coatings in any of our canned foods.”  Plus they provided the following in their response…”BADGE (BPA) COATINGS ARE USED IN 90% OF ALL CANS.   This type of lining is considered an epoxy resin which have achieved wide acceptance in protective coatings, including coatings for food and beverage cans, because of their exceptional combination of properties such as toughness, adhesion, and chemical resistance. The most widely used epoxy resins are based on bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE). BADGE is a major component in all bisphenol A / epichlorohydrin based liquid epoxy resins. It’s entire
chemical nomenclature is Bisphenol-A Diglycidyl ether or 2,2-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl) propane bis(2,3-epoxy-propyl) ether.

OUR CAN LINING CONTAINS BFDGE. This is used in the aluminum 3oz and 5.5 oz cans. Even though some of the letters seem the same, the compound we use, is an entirely different compound from BADGE. BFDGE stands for Bisphenol-FDiGlycidyl ether or bis(hydroxyphenyl)methane bis(2,3-epoxypropyl)ethers. 

The purpose of lining is exactly the same as why you might coat a surface with lacquer-protection.  The purpose with food contact surfaces is to protect the can from the food (to prevent rust, etc) and the food from the can.  There are many properties such as adhesion to the metal and ability to withstand processing and migration of food chemicals (especially acid)
which need to be considered in selection of compounds.  Additionally, properties to prevent sticking of the food to the lacquer on the lid need to be considered. Cans are coated on both sides but the needs are obviously different.”

Merrick Pet Foods
“Thanks for taking the time to e-mail us,  none of our cans contain BPA (Bisphenol A).  They are tin coated steel (inside and outside) with an organic coating over the tin on the inside of the can.”  When questioned about the large cans “Does this include the large cans as well?”  they responded “This includes the large cans as well.”

Natural Balance
“The only Natural Balance canned formula which do not contain BPA are the 3oz and 6oz cans. The dog formulas do contain minimal amounts.”

Del Monte
” Like most in the industry, the metal cans we use for our consumer products are produced by a third-party vendor, and they use protective coatings which contain trace amounts of BPA that fall well within current FDA guidelines.”

Nature’s Logic
“Our 5.5 oz cans do not but there is some BPA in the large 13.2 oz cans. Our canning facility is working on getting those changed over this year to a BPA free lining.”

Evangers Pet Foods
“Our cans are BPA free.  Feel free to contact us if you have any other questions.”  When questioned further, Evangers followed with this response:  “Our 5.5 and 6 oz cans are BPA free.  Our 13 oz cans use a miniscule amount of BPA.  The lining in our 13 oz cans is an approved FDA lining in that the amount of BPA in the can does not interfere with the food in the can.  It is our understanding that can suppliers are working with the FDA to manufacture a larger can that is BPA free for commercial use.”

Weruva Pet Foods
“Our manufacturing partner makes their cans on premises and the raw materials used for the can production are free of BPA.”

Pet Guard Organics Pet Food
“The PetGuard 3oz and 5.5oz canned products are free of BPA/Badge. The coating used in the 12.7 and 14oz steel cans is water based, non toxic food/human grade polymeric/enamel lining.”

Newmans Own Organics Pet Food
“The 12.7oz steel dog food cans and the 3oz beef, beef & liver and liver (from Uruguay) canned cat food contain BPA.  The other varieties of 3oz cat and 5.5oz dog are aluminum cans and bisphenol-A (BPA) free.”

Nature’s Variety Pet Food
“We use BPA in our 13.2 oz cans and not our 5.5 oz cans.”

Blue Buffalo Pet Food
“No, BLUE does not have BPA in their can lining.”

Canidae Pet Foods
“No, the can lining does not contain any BPA nor do any of our products.”
When questioned about large cans…”I’ve been reading about BPA and was told only small cans of pet food are available BPA free. Do your large cans have a BPA lining?”, Canidae responded “No, they do not either.”  

Petropics Pet Food
“Bisphenol A (BPA) is not in the lining of our foods, as we have a no compromise philosophy in all areas, including our cans.”

Drs. Foster & Smith

“Our pet food cans are lined with BPA.  This product produces a container that preserves its contents better and allows easier removal of the food.”

Natura Pet Foods (Innova, Evo, California Naturals)
“BPA is not in our aluminum cans (5.5oz).  Although based on the available research we strongly believe that BPA-containing cans which are used throughout the human and pet food industry are safe, we are also attempting to phase out coatings with BPA in them from our 13.2 ounce steel cans.”

Nutro Pet Food
“No, they do not contain BPA; we’ve even done testing to learn there are not even trace amounts of BPA.”

Purina Pet Food
“None of our canned foods contain BPA; we use an FDA approved lining not formulated with BPA…Polypropylene.”

Iams/Eukanuba Pet Food
“No, none of our cans have a BPA lining.”  When questioned what type of lining they use “Our cans are not lined with anything; they are made from just re-cycled steel.”

Halo Pet Foods
“Our cans do contain BPA in the safe and acceptable level established by the FDA.”

Wellness/Eagle Pack WellPet
“Our 3 oz. and 5.5 oz. canned cat products are free of BPA/BADGE. Some of our other canned cat products and our canned dog products have a small amount of BPA/BADGE in the lining material. The coating used is a water-based, non-toxic, food/ human-grade polymeric/enamel lining.”

Wysong Pet Food
“Our aluminum cans (5.5 oz) are BPA-free. The larger, steel cans (14 oz) do contain BPA, however, we are working with our can supplier to change the lining in the 14 oz cans.”

Fromm Pet Food
“No, our cans do not contain any BPA lining and never have.”

To summarize…Our inquiries found the following companies to provide a prompt first response in agreement with what is commonly believed with pet food…small aluminum cans can be BPA free, large steel cans are not BPA free…
Healthy Pet Net (only makes food in small cans)
Natural Balance
Del Monte brands
Nature’s Logic
Pet Guard Organics
Nature’s Variety
Drs. Foster & Smith (openly stated all cans have BPA lining)
Natura – Innova, Evo, California Naturals
Halo (openly stated all cans have safe levels of BPA)
Wellness/Eagle Pack

But…the following companies told us they Do Not use a BPA lined can – small or large…
Chicken Soup
Blue Buffalo

What in the world is going on?  NaturalNews.com reported in December 2008 that only two U.S. companies confirm to use BPA free cans; Eden Foods and Henry & Lisa’s Natural Seafood.  It has to be noted that this article was from a citizen journalist, not Mike Adams of Natural News.  This doesn’t mean this particular citizen journalist was any less informed than any other journalist, we just don’t know.  No credentials were provided.    http://www.naturalnews.com/025128.html

I am NOT saying the above list of pet food companies are misleading consumers or falsely stating they are using BPA free cans…I am saying that if I were them, I’d certainly be utilizing the growing public awareness and concern of BPA as a marketing tool for my BPA free cans.

Not much luck with trying to discover more information about pet food cans…Numerous calls to trade associations representing the companies which manufacture can liners went unanswered or unresolved (you need to speak with XXX,…no, you need to speak with XXX…and so on).  Numerous calls and emails to various pet food canning companies (Menu Foods, Simmons Pet, American Nutrition) went unanswered.

However, Scott McCarty of Ball Corporation (one of the leading can manufacturers in the world) was quick to respond to my questions.  He provided the following information…

“Almost all aluminum and steel beverage and food cans use epoxy coatings inside cans as a barrier between the metal and the products in the can. Epoxy coatings may contain BPA.  Scientific evidence evaluated by regulatory agencies in the United States, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand has consistently shown these coatings to be safe, and regulatory agencies have stated that human exposure to BPA from epoxy can coatings is well below safe exposure limits set by government bodies worldwide.  
Even so, Ball Corporation recognizes that significant interest exists in non-epoxy based coatings. We are committed to responding to our customers’ needs and will offer cans with a non-epoxy based coating when it becomes commercially available.  Ball has been proactively working with coatings suppliers and our customers to evaluate non-epoxy based coatings. Early results from ongoing test packs that began in mid-2008 have been mixed.
Currently there is not a viable alternative to epoxy coatings that meets the existing requirements of all products packaged in cans. There are limited alternatives for certain, nonaggressive products. Those alternatives pose performance, shelf life, environmental or supply availability challenges.  The coating used by Eden is a non-epoxy coating that has been around for many years. It is only suitable for use with nonaggressive products and may have shelf life, availability and cost considerations. I don’t know what coatings are used in all pet food cans; that would depend on customer requirements.”

Are you as confused as I am?

So, what’s the ‘truth’ about pet food can liners?  Could it be that the short list of stated BPA free pet food companies utilizes BPA free cans unknown to other pet food companies and many/most human food canners?  Or…could the Customer Service Reps of the above pet food companies stating they utilize BPA free cans be confused or ill informed?

I wish I could tell you.  This experience has left me even more confused and dismayed about the Pet Food Industry.  Until someone wins the lottery willing to support testing of all canned pet foods, we simply don’t know anything for certain (just give me those winning numbers…I’ll be testing for many things in pet food!).

If you are wishing to feed your pet a canned food from a BPA free can, my best advice is to use foods from the small aluminum cans believed to be to be BPA free.


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware
Co-Author Dinner PAWsible

What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients?  Chinese imports?  Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 2500 cat foods, dog foods,  and pet treats.  30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com

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