IthaCan

Letter to Nat'l Center of Home Food Presevers re: BPA in Jarden Brand Canning Lids

After review from a number of our members, I emailed the letter below out this morning to Dr. Elizabeth Andress, who heads the National Center for Home Food Processing at the University of Georgia. Copies went to our local CCE of Tompkins County and a printed copy will go out today to Jarden (the maker of Ball & Kerr jars.)

-- Kate



October 1, 2010

Dear Dr. Andress,

I am writing on behalf of our home food preservers network, IthaCan.
IthaCan is a citizen advocacy group run by volunteers that has
300 members in Tompkins County, NY. Members share experiences
and information via IthaCan's website from among 20 affiliation groups that
cover diverse topics related to home food preservation. We also host
food preservation gatherings in our homes to build community and
exchange know-how. A number of us have taken the Master Food Preserver
course through our local Extension office.

Among our members there is concern about the bisphenol A (BPA) lining in
canning lids from Jarden Home Brands, the maker of Ball and Kerr
(Jarden). As you know, BPA is a chemical that mimics estrogen in the
body and is effected by heat. It passes from containers into the food
and liquids stored in them. Reproductive and developmental problems as
well as some cancers, obesity and diabetes have been attributed to the
presence of BPA in the body. Last month, the Canadian government
rejected the objections of the American Chemistry Council and will be
listing BPA on its Schedule 1 roster of toxic substances.

Many IthaCan members grow and preserve their own food or purchase
locally grown produce for the health benefits to themselves and their
families, which include young ones. A new FDA initiative is underway to
reduce the chemical's ubiquitous presence in the American food supply.
Although BPA is being phased out of baby bottles, food can linings and
children's water bottles, Jarden holds the position that because the FDA
has not banned BPA altogether, they will continue use it on the lids
their company produces.

The irony of going through the effort of obtaining organic foods only to
preserve them in a jar containing a hazardous material is not lost on
our members. Although Jarden is not ready to move to a BPA-free lid, a
significant and growing segment of the home preserving community is. We
regularly field questions on our website related to this issue and many
IthaCan members are turning to alternatives, like Weck jars and Tattler
lids.

Ideally, home food preservers would like a jar and lid system that is
made of materials that meet the highest standards of safety, is
completely reusable (or at least has multiple uses) and has a full
complement of tested recipes. We would like to provide science-based answers to the questions our
members raise about using other sources of jars and lids as well as
recipes adjusted for metric volumes.

The questions we have for the
National Center for Home Food Preservation are, first what, if any, research has
been done on alternative food storage systems, like those used across
Europe, for home food preserving? And secondly, if there is no research done to date,
where should we direct our efforts to encourage funding of research into
BPA-free lids and jars and developing metric processing time
adjustments in recipes for the U.S. market?

Thank you for your consideration of this issue,

Katie Quinn-Jacobs

IthaCan Founder

kqj@preparedtompkins.org

607-277-7991


cc: Ann Gifford & Carol Fisher, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County

cc: Printed copy sent to:
Jarden Home Brands

Consumer Affairs
14611 West Commerce Road
P.O. Box 529
Daleville, IN 47334

Views: 107

Tags: bpa, canning

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Comment by Katie Quinn-Jacobs on November 8, 2010 at 5:47pm
Oh...yeah, when I did the jam making this weekend with the Wells College students and brought up the BPA lining on the canning lids, those kids were all over it. They understood that BPA was an endocrine disruptor and offered to sign the petition if/when we get it up.
Comment by Katie Quinn-Jacobs on November 8, 2010 at 5:44pm
Thanks for sending the link to the BPA in commercially prepared food article, Alison. Regarding the letter I sent to the Center for Home Food Preservation and Jarden, I haven't heard a peep. This is disappointing. I really had hoped that the CHFP at UGA would respond to our questions regarding who to contact to encourage more research into non-BPA alternatives.

We're considering launching a national online petition through IthaCan on this issue. I think it's time to organize the consumer pressure to encourage a response both from Jarden (the leading manufacturer of jars in the US & the Center for Home Food Processing.
Comment by Alison F on November 8, 2010 at 4:40pm
Thanks for doing this, Katie! Any word yet?

As an aside, I wanted to offer a link to a recent article in Discovery News about BPA in commerciall... (written by a writer I know and respect).
Comment by Katie Quinn-Jacobs on October 13, 2010 at 6:09am
It'll be interesting to see what, if any, kind of response we get from either Dr. Andress of the Nat'l Ctr for Home Food Preservation and/or Jarden jars.
Comment by IthacaNancy on October 10, 2010 at 10:18am
Thank you Katie! I hope they listen and change.

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IthaCan is a web-based social network where home food preservers in Tompkins County organize food preserving events and share information.

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