BPA in Canning Lids – Seriously?

Note: This post was updated on 6/4/13 to reflect the latest findings regarding BPA-free lids.

There has been a lot of talk lately about BPA (Bisphenol-A) and the fact that it is in most of the canning lids we use for home preservation. It raises a whole scary set of questions, like:

What is BPA exactly? Is home canning still safe? Are there other options?

Let me see if I can fill in the blanks for you here. First of all, don’t panic. Canning is still safe! Really, truly it is. But, you will be hearing about the BPA issue in the news and as canners, we need to stay informed so we can continue to use the best methods possible.

What is BPA?

BPA in canning jar lids

Let’s start by looking at what BPA is. Bisphenol-A is a synthetic estrogen that is used to make plastic hard and to create a coating that keeps metal from rusting. It is currently in a lot of the plastic containers and commercial metal cans we use everyday. When food is in direct contact with BPA, it is absorbed into the food and when we eat that food, the BPA goes into our bodies.

What is bad about this synthetic estrogen is that various studies have shown that it can cause serious health issues. (Everything from disrupting hormone levels to causing cancer.) These studies have also shown that even though BPA is not stored in the body very long, most of us have traces of it because we are constantly exposed through plastic. The bottom line is that it is not a good thing for us to be eating.

There has been much debate about these studies and even entire countries cannot agree on the safety issues. For example, Canada has banned the use of BPA, while the European Safety Authority has declared it perfectly safe. In November 2010 there was a conference on BPA to hash out the global consensus of the risks in using it. And there has been a lot of discussion since then.

So, is BPA Really in Home Canning Lids?

Yes. Unfortunately, BPA is in most 2-piece metal canning lids that come with standard canning jars here in America. It is used in the coating that prevents the lid from rusting. (See recent update to this below)

So, as we are trying to do something good for our bodies (no preservatives) and good for the environment (eating locally), we suddenly discover that there is something potentially dangerous in the lid of our jar! What are we to do?

Understand the Danger:

In order to make a good decision about canning lids, we need to fully understand the dangers. We know that heat activates BPA and we are heating the lids when we use them. However, we also know that the food must be in direct contact with the lid in order to leach BPA into the food.

If we are canning properly, using proper headspace and the jars are stored in the upright position on the pantry shelf, our food should NOT be in direct contact with the lid or the BPA in the lid. Therefore, it should be safe to eat the food inside the jar.

But…there is the argument that the food can bubble up and hit the lid during processing. Yes, that is a real possibility. Although there are studies testing the amount of BPA leached when food is stored in direct contact for long periods of time, there are no studies showing BPA levels inside a home canning jar where the food might have touched the lid for a few seconds.

So, we really don’t know about that one. All we do know for sure is there is a potential danger and for some people, that is enough incentive to want to look for alternatives.

So what are our choices?

BPA-Free Lids - UPDATE (6/4/13):

When this post first came out in late 2010, Ball and Kerr canning jar lids did have BPA in them. Since these are the most popular canning lids in use, it has been a real concern. But in just the last few weeks, the company has announced that the newer Ball canning lids are BPA-free. I contacted the Ball Canning Company and they confirmed this with the following message:

The dedicated work of our in-house engineers and scientists along with our outside partners has culminated in a bisphenol A- (BPA-) free coating for home canning lids.

This coating is compliant with FDA regulation 21 CFR175.300 – Resinous and polymeric coatings, for products and processes, and the sealing material is compliant with FDA regulation 21 CRF 177.1210 – Closures with sealing gaskets for food containers. Ball and Kerr products are now manufactured using a BPA-free coating.

These lids can be identified by the presence of “Made in USA” on the packaging and lids themselves, and by dots around the border of our Collection Elite series lids. The lids also have a coating on the underside that is two or three shades darker than the previous lids – more of a taupe as compared with the previous cream.

Other Options:

Tattler Lids: These are made from a BPA-free plastic. They have two parts: a round, white plastic disk and a rubber gasket. You use the same metal screw top ring (that came with your canning jar) to hold them in place during processing. Unlike regular canning lids, these BPA-free lids are reusable and you can order them on line. The USDA has not approved these lids, but that does not mean they are unsafe, necessarily. It just means that there have been no USDA studies yet on their safety or reliability for holding a seal. Perhaps with a little more pressure, the USDA will test some of these alternative lids.

BPA Free Canning Lids

Tattler Lids are made from BPA-free plastic

I have tried these lids and I can tell you that they are a bit tricky to use at first. It takes a few batches to get the hang of it and you may have some seal failures in the beginning. But once you get used to the rubber gasket, they work pretty well. They do not “ping” like a metal lid (signifying a vacuum seal) and you can’t test by pressing on the center. To check the seal, you must gently tug on the top. However, I do have to say that several canners who live in warmer climates have told me that the seals can fail during the summer months. I have not experienced this myself.

BPA free canning lids

Weck Canning lids are made from glass

Weck Jars & Lids: Another option to avoid BPA in lids is a Weck canning jar. Weck jars also are not approved by the USDA (only because they have not been tested, not that they don’t work), but are approved in Canada where they are quite popular. They use a glass lid with a rubber gasket and clamps. They come in many beautiful shapes, but are a bit expensive and can be difficult to find except through mail order. (You can order from the link above.) If you want to learn more about them, I wrote a post all about BPA-free canning with Weck jars here.

The Bottom Line:

Using standard USDA approved lids or the BPA-free lids (that are not approved by the USDA) is a personal choice. We each have to make this decision based on the type of foods we can and what we are comfortable with.

What do I use? I was using all of the lids mentioned above. But now I will check out the new BPA-free lids from Ball. I am so pleased that they finally changed over.

USDA report: Update on Bisphenol A

About

Theresa Loe is the Co-Executive Producer and the canning/homesteading expert on Growing A Greener World TV. She creates seasonally inspired pantry items based on homegrown and locally-sourced produce. A lifelong canner and a graduate of the Master Food Preserver Program, Theresa also studied sustainable horticulture and culinary arts. She also blogs at LivingHomegrown about homesteading & preserving. Follow her on Google+ and download her FREE CANNING RESOURCE GUIDE.

Comments

  1. Evellyn Ramos says

    Ok I bought the glass jars to make baby food. I was very disappointed to discover, after buying, that the tattler lids are made from plastic #7. It’s printed right there on the lids a big #7. Why make BPA free lids from the worst plastic??? Why not use other plastics that don’t have estrogen activities?How can they label it “BPAfree”???? #7 plastic has BPA no matter what. They might use another kind of plastic but other kinds have been proven to have higher estrogen activities than BPA.#7 Polycarbonate plastic contains bisphenol-A. I now have to find another lid because I do not want to feed PBA to my 7 month old boy. Do you have any other advice?

    • Theresa Loe says

      Hi Evellyn,

      Thank you for the info on Tattler Lids & #7! It was my understanding that #7 means a blending of many plastics and that it may or may not contain BPA. Upon further research, I now see that although #7 ‘might’ not contain BPA, it usually contains BPS (which is no better).

      I have heard the point made many times that pretty much all plastic has something to be concerned about – either known or unknown. Which can leave us all feeling pretty helpless.

      I’m sorry to say that if you want to be completely sure you are BPA free, you would need to use Weck Canning jars which have a glass lid. However, they are extremely pricey. However, they do make small (baby food sized) jars that might be worth the investment for you. They last forever and use a rubber gasket (not in contact with the food) to seal. You can order them online from places like William-Sonoma.

      The other option is the “new” ball canning jar lid which is now touted as BPA free. (It says USA on the box) However, Ball will not tell us what other chemicals are in the lids.

      Keep in mind that when you can, your food should not be in contact with the lid. So using the Ball (PBA free) lids might be your best option. I’m sorry I don’t have better choices for you. It is a big problem.

  2. Deb says

    - As was mentioned above, BPA is being replaced by the also-worrisome BPS and other related compounds. “BPA-free” materials may not be safer, and personally, I view the BPA-free claim as meaningless from a health standpoint. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es300876n

    - Someone mentioned formaldehyde and Tattler lids. While I can’t vouch for the source I’m linking to here, this excerpt from The Natural Canning Resource Book may be helpful:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=nQRUm1_b3g4C&pg=PT60&lpg=PT60&dq=Polyoxymethylene+Copolymer+formaldehyde&source=bl&ots=cCDwb_AOJr&sig=U3NY5Zx5Mso2Mdpx1Bcjsa90990&hl=en&sa=X&ei=YlXST4r9OIOw2wWMmcy0Dw&ved=0CGsQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=Polyoxymethylene%20Copolymer%20formaldehyde&f=false

    - Can anyone provide a link to a page that describes what the Weck seals are made of? I know that Weck calls them “rubber,” but is it 100% natural rubber? Mainly, I’m looking for some assurance that they contain no plastic before I invest in their jars, and I haven’t been able to find this information on their web site. (Why not use silicone, anyway?) Thanks!

  3. Fred says

    My sister went on a tour of the Anchor glass plant in the Minneapolis, MN area last summer. She saw a puff of mist deployed over the canning jars as they started to cool. Asking about it she was told the coating is misted over the top and the cooling effect draws it into the jar for an even microscopic coating. She was told this done for two reasons. 1) Helps keep the jars from scratching each other and 2) Helps keep food from sticking on the insides of the jars. When she asked what it was that they were coating the jars with, the tour guide ignored the question and moved the tour on to the next area. Do you know if this coating is BPA? Are Ball or Kerr coated inside? Thank you.

    • Theresa Loe says

      Hi Fred,

      VERY interesting about the Anchor tour. I have no idea if it was BPA or not. I would guess it was some sort of polymer – but who knows. As for Ball and Kerr jars, they swear that there is NO coating on the glass. They are asked that all the time and very openly say no. So I do not believe they are coated inside with anything.

      • Tina L Nelson says

        Hi, I wasn’t sure how to ask so am usimg a reply at Fred’s site…

        Has Ball discontinued the bpa containing lids with the new bpa free lids, or are they making both. Seems like a silly question but I trust no company any longer.

        Thanks to whomever can answer.

        Tina

        • Theresa Loe says

          Hi Tina – I have no idea who “Fred” is, but this is Theresa (the one who wrote this post) :-)

          According to the people I spoke to at Ball, they are no longer using BPA in their lids at all. It just takes a while for the “old” lids to make it through the market place. Look for the words “made in the USA” to be sure they are BPA free or they will actually say “BPA free”

          ~Theresa

  4. Kami says

    I went with Weck jars. I first went all BPA free and tried the Tattler lids, I then did some study on the other plastics that are in these BPA free products and was not happy with those as well. It seems as though companies are now waving the BPA free labels very high so you wont ask what else is in the product. I love Weck, but they are expensive. Ive also had to learn a few tricks with them. like using 3 or even 4 claps for canning and not clicking the clamps all the way on untill after they have processed and are cooling. My fail rate was getting high before I came across an article on it. thanks for your postings I love to learn all I can.

    • Theresa Loe says

      I love the weck jars too – for all the same reasons Kami. I just wish they were not so expensive. Now that canning is so hot, perhaps more choices will become available.

  5. RITA KRASSELT says

    I HAVE BEEN CANNING FOR YEARS. I JUST PURCHASED A DOZEN OF HALF PINT JARS WITH LIDS AND RINGS. WHEN I HAD THE JARS UPSIDE DOWN IN THE WATER TO GET HOT ONE BROKE. THEN WHEN I FILLED THE REST I HAD ONE BREAK IN THE 10 MINUTE WATER BATH. IT WAS FULL OF APPLE JELLY THIS SHOULDN’T OF HAPPENED ON EITHER JAR THEY WERE BRAND NEW. PLUS I HAD A RING THAT WAS BENT THAT I THOUGHT STRANGE ALSO.

    I WAS CANNING TO ENTER IN THE FAIR NEXT YEAR. I USE BALL AND KERR ALL THE TIME. SO I LOST MY JELLY IN MY WATER BATH NOT GOOD

  6. AP says

    A few years ago my mother (avid canner with 40+ years experience) started to switch her canning collection to Weck Jars and Tattler lids. My budget was a little tighter so I went with Tattler lids but still am looking for some easier options to can large amounts of produce. (we eat mostly from our pantry/cold storage in winter with canned and frozen goods). This year when in the canning section at the store – I see that the REGULAR KERR lids are labeled as BPA free. The WIDE mouth lids were not marked as such (but I see they are older produced in 2011 so this may be an old batch the store put out). Although I am going to order a dozen Quattro Stagioni jars, I’m glad I can save a little money for now and still have BPA free lids on my old canning jars.

    • Theresa Loe says

      Hi AP,

      KERR jars and lids are also owned by the Ball Canning company. So everything I said here about Ball jars now being BPA free applies to KERR lids as well. (And you are correct, they need to be the newer ones)

      I’m very excited to hear you saw them labeled at BPA free! None of the ones by my house have this labeling yet. As they use up their old stock of packaging, I imagine this switch over will be more common. Now that we are well into the canning season, I need to go check my local stores to see if the newer stock is labeled differently.

      ~Theresa

    • Theresa Loe says

      Good question Michele. I do not know anything about those lids. Perhaps you could contact the company and ask them directly. If they do have BPA, contacting them about it lets them know that consumers don’t want it.

    • Barbara Smith says

      Hi Sarah…looks like your link takes you to a site where you HAVE to buy the jars as well as the lids…
      Most canners already have their Ball/MAson or Kerr jars…they need only to swap out the lids…these stainless lids fit perfectly over their existing BALL-MASON/Kerr jars
      If you just want or Need the lids…google it…something will come up I’m sure.

  7. Barbara Smith says

    I JUST contacted their web page today and called. The gal on the other end of the phone said she was told to tell anyone who called that they were now BPA free.
    That STILL did not gel with me…WHY you ask? Because they have NOT in writing put it up on their web page on the purchasing of their canning lids and until they put it in writing on the packaging…I personally won’t believe them. They are NOT “a name I can trust”, As they say on their 100 yr commemorative box of 6…because IF they actually took it out, WHY did they wait so long to do it? And WHY won’t they advertise it all over their web-site if it is THAT important for us to trust them? They STILL are coming up short. A company that large certainly can afford to PUT IN WRITING the BPA facts…but they don’t!
    Furthermore on their commerative blue glass jars celebrating their 100 year anniversary they have mis-printed ALL of their blue jars. They all say 1913-1915…Instead of 1913-2013!!
    If they chose to print the two years they were being sold back in the day…WHY then is it a big deal to celebrate the 100 year anniversary-if they can’t print the correct date on those jars. The people on the phone are only telling you and I what THEY are being told to say…so says the gal I talked with today….

    • Theresa Loe says

      Well, I can certainly understand not wanting to use the lids until you see it in writing on the box.

      It is my understanding that they ARE changing the boxes and we should see the new BPA labels “this summer”. I think the reason for not having it on the boxes now is to first clear out the inventory and sell out all the BPA lids so they don’t have to scrap them. But that is just a guess.

      • Barbara Smith says

        I’m sure you are right…
        But…..
        When you KNOW something id poison…should we still make a profit off of selling it or do a total RECALL of the poison…..I’ll let each of you decide for yourselves…but as for me and my house, we will not continue to buy or give away to others…the poison.
        I think even LESS of Jarden for doing this…as they aren’t looking out for us…they are looking out for themselves. Most big companies do not act so stingy and cheaply…it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Like wolves in sheeps clothing…thanks Theresa…I think you know what’s up…

  8. JGarcia says

    Just got this word from BPA Canning Company. They began production/release of their BPA-free lids in January 2013. To identify a BPA-free box (they are not marking it on their boxes, according to the company spokesman), look for a production code printed/stamped on each box that is One Letter Followed by 10-11 Numbers. On Ball boxes, you’ll find the code next to the flag on the bottom of the box. On Kerr boxes, you’ll find the code on the back of the box, above the text. It won’t be a particular code, but only BPA-free boxes will have these (or any) codes like this stamped on them. Oh, happy day!

  9. Barbara Smith says

    Apparently after you go to the official Website of Amazon
    then type in your SEARCH…Quattro Stagioni or Quattro Stagioni lids
    Then click on to any one of them listed that sells a pkg of 2 for 99 cents
    (those will be the regular size-70mm) or the ones for 1.99 (also a 2 pk-
    but these are 86mm for our Ball/Kerr widemouth jars)
    This is what the ad read:
    Bormioli Rocco 3-3/8″, 88mm Quattro Stagioni Lids, 2 Pack
    by Bormioli Rocco
    Be the first to review this item
    Price: $1.99

    In Stock.
    Ships from and sold by Goodman’s.

    2 lids per pack
    88mm Quattro Stagioni lids (they have this down wrong …it is
    actually 86mm)

    I clicked on to a few that were highlited in blue that said HOME & KITCHEN
    and for some reason those ads took me to the ad above that says Goodman’s
    Gosh…
    I hope that helps (5-9-13) Let me know if you need further assistance :)

  10. Joyce says

    Hello All,
    The use of BPA in the Ball canning lids and bands is very disturbing for sure. My mother taught me to can from an early age and now I have grandchildren, so I have seen hundreds of home grown food canned. Over the last year or so, I have noticed a change in the color of the lids and bands Ball includes with their jars and box sets. More importantly I have noticed once these lids and bands are put through the pressure caner they come out horribly tarnished. Ball has changed the color of the lids and bands from “gold” to “silver” and since then these lids and bands are tarnished after processing. The bands do not hold up to many canings before they are extremely hard to get on a new jar. I wash them before using and sterilize them before placing on the jars to process. I add the vinegar to my caner water to prevent hard water stains as the Ball website recommends. I am very disappointed in the quality of the lids and bands. It is very shameful. The only way to remove the tarnish from the lids is with a Brillo, there is no way to remove it from the bands. Does anyone else have this problem and if so have you found a solution to prevent this ugly tarnish? I hope Ball will do away with these silver bands and lids go back to manufacturing the gold ones and fix this BPA issue. Thank you for informing us about the BPA. Have a nice day, Joyce

    • Barbara Smith says

      Yes Joyce. I too do not like the silver color. Cheaply made and the silver comes off in the dishwasher after a few washings.

      A few days ago I was told over the phone from a representative of Ball that the BEIGE color circle on the inside was the BPA free lids and that the whiter circles in the lds…Had the BPA…
      But ….
      As BECKY pointed out with her link there are plenty of other BAD STUFF out there they can coat those lids with. (More than one type of BPA)The newer circled lids also are coated…with something…we may not know for another few years that this too was BAD for us….As long as it is being coated and not just metal like the older ones…I for one am refusing to trust them…”Fool me once shame on them, fool me twice-shame on me” as the saying goes…

  11. Barbara Smith says

    There is a BPA alternative that is Stainless Steel freom Italy! Sold on Amazon.
    They NEVER had BPA. They are a one piece canning lid. Their 70mm fits our REGULAR Ball-Mason/Kerr jars. Their 86mm fits our Ball-Mason/Kerr’s WIDEMOUTH. Amazon companies seem to post conflicting sizes with conflicting pictures of a different size than they are selling…so I purchased mine from Goodman’s (Amazon) about 1.00 US dollar each (packet of 2 can range from 1.99-2.99) But well-worth the PEACE of mind.
    This way we do not have to replace ALL our canning jars with WECK. This is a cheaper alternative that is NOT plastic. I don’t know about you, but PLASTIC “tattler” lids with NO BPA-are STILL in fact, PLASTIC….ICK!

    • Theresa Loe says

      Hi Barbara-

      I have looked all over Amazon and I cannot find stainless steel lids from Italy. Could you post a link? I am very curious about these.

      Thanks,
      Theresa

      • Barbara Smith says

        Hi Theresa…
        Have you been able to find the lids at Goodman’s yet or on any other Amazon sites?

          • Barbara Smith says

            How long have you been sitting on this? You can ask me anything at anytime and I would never think a thing about it..I like helping out if I can be of service : ) and Yes! QUATTRO STAGIONI (from Bormioli Rocco) lids are the RIGHT one@ Goodmans!…Don’t forget…the sizes I mentioned for Regular and Widemouth…k?
            Remember also that I had mentioned that they were labeled certain sizes then their pictures of said items did not match up with their ad..?

            • Theresa Loe says

              Thanks so much Barbara. You are always very helpful! I was going to order as the canning season got into full swing. I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. But I will now. :-)

  12. Theresa Loe says

    True Cass! The lid does just fall off…eventually. I think the problem with tattlers is that many times the seal seems fine at first, but they lose their seal while they sit on the shelf. At least that appears to be the biggest complaint I hear from people who use them. Unfortunately, I have not found many experienced canners who like them for that reason.

    I wrote this post over 2 years ago, so I had to search through it to find where I insinuated that tattlers were “new”. You are correct. They are not new. I will correct my wording on the post where I talked about the USDA not testing “new products”. I think it is more accurate to say that due to lack of funding (or lack of interest) the USDA does not ever seem to get around to officially testing other products such as tattler or weck. I find that very frustrating. Plus they are always extremely conservative in their recommendations – which I do understand.

    Although the tattlers are “incredibly simple to use” as you say, I do not think they are intuitive to people with many years of experience with the standard method. But with a shift in thinking and technique they do work. Master Food Preservers are not supposed to recommend them at all because they are not approved by the USDA. But I do think they are a nice option to use if you want to steer clear of BPA. I actually like weck jars even better because the jars so pretty – Except for the fact that they are so expensive that I can’t use them as much. Ugh!

    Thanks for your comment.

    ~Theresa

  13. Cass says

    Tattler reusable canning lids are not in anyway new, they have been around since 1976. I grew up canning with them. They are also incredibly simple to use (as long as you read the instructions). And well, it’s kinda hard to miss a bad seal, because the lid falls off…

  14. Cruncymomwhocares says

    Thank you so much for all the time and research your entire staff puts into this show! I have just come across this show recently and can not get enough… the info is invaluable. It is so hard to find wholesome programming on TV these days. I will definitely be donating to ONE this year to help support shows like this. :)

    • Theresa Loe says

      Thank you so much for your comments. We work hard to bring the best we can find and getting good feedback is what keeps us going. Keep checking in here or better yet, sign up for our newsletter because we are revamping this website to bring you even more information as we head into Season Four of our program!

  15. trowe says

    Just a FYI: I spoke with a chemist who indicated that BPA (and any other plastics used in jar lids, etc.) do not have to be in contact with food to leach — they “off gas” into the air and can permeate through wax paper or other types of home-made linings.

    • Theresa Loe says

      Trowe-

      Whoa! That takes this to a whole different level. Thanks so much for the heads up. Do you happen to know of any articles or links to information about this? I would really like to include it here. I had not heard that (and in fact heard the opposite), but I researched for this post 2 years ago and it is very likely that there is much better information out there now.

      Thanks for commenting!

      ~Theresa

  16. Laura says

    This is a worrisome problem! I’d like a little clarification regarding the lids: is it just the lids with the white coating on the “seal side” or is it a clear coating on all canning lids. Between the cost of the jars and the cost of high quality, sustainably or organically grown produce it’s getting really pricy to protect the health of my family. Does anyone have an economically feasible solution?

    • Theresa Loe says

      Hi Laura,

      I believe it IS the lids with the white coating on the seal side. You are absolutely correct that it gets harder and harder to do things “right” and keep the cost down. Here is the way I look at it:

      The costs of the jars is a one time cost. The more you can, the more you save. I have jars that I have used for 25 years and they still work great. I rarely buy new jars. The lids are fairly inexpensive (no matter which you use).

      I know that the BPA is becoming such a big issue that I keep hearing “new” lids are on the way that are BPA free and easier to use than Tatter. I just have not seen them yet.

  17. Jeff says

    I am so glad for people who follow through with their research! It is a good thing to not be ignorant. Unfortunately the grandparents we no longer are experiencing in our lives who did try their best to do things in a “wholesome” “natural” and “safe” way were a GEM TO US!

    I wish you would have commented on what kind of lids these grandparents really used…..as it would be beneficial to those younger generations who should remember that keeping with their practices are not so bad after all! The world we live in is a fallen world and not everything that looks good really is!………OR not everything that seems like it is, is really like that!

    I personally pray over all my food and ask THE GOD ABOVE ALL OUR CREATION to bless it and bless it to my body for its intended use. We need to TRUST HIS AWESOME CARE and in HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH! God bless this website in the coming days!!!

  18. Judy says

    Why do we have to have BPA anywhere? It’s getting to the point that nothing is safe. If we have an elevated population with cancer, we all know why. If we stick together and tell the powers that be enough, maybe we can get these “cancer causing chemicals” out of our food chain. It just takes enough people to voice their opinions and we can change an industry.

  19. says

    Thanks for this, it makes things really clear. I do feel that if the lid is the only issue (and I store my food upright), it is still so much better than buying canned food – even in jars, which would not be stored upright much of the time, I’m sure) – that I haven’t been too worried, but it’s good to know some alternatives are becoming available.

    I’m only a very novice canner anyway, just getting started going beyond jam this season (we’re at the end of summer here in Australia).

  20. diane says

    I want to know what steps i have to take to can food for public consumption. Are the canning methods different. What is recommended by the FDA and food safety organization?
    Also, do I need to take classes in canning to do this and to be certified with the city and state?

    • Theresa Loe says

      Hi Diane,

      Those are kind of broad questions, but the broad answer is that there is a lot to do if you want to can for public consumption or sell your product. Each state and each city has different requirements but you first and foremost must follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements. You will have to research what exactly is required within your own area based on what you want to do.

      Start with the US Food and Drug and work your way down from there.

      Good Luck!
      ~Theresa

  21. diane says

    I want to know if i what steps i have to take to can food for public consumption. Are the canning methods different. What is recommended by the FDA and food safety organization?

  22. Amanda Gibson says

    what about covering the food with a layer of wax to protect it from touching the lid, before it is sealed? Is there any danger in this? I’ve never canned before, but I know the dangers of BPA, and am considering canning in the future, but want to know my options to avoid BPA exposure.

  23. LO says

    I don’t want the govt in any way shape or form telling me what is “safe”…not the FDA, the USDA, the CDC, any of it.

  24. vk says

    Thanks for the overview, Theresa. My hesitation with Tattlers is that *all* plastics are toxic to the body in one form or another. So while I appreciate a re-usable product, I’m leery about using something that has *more* plastic.
    Any updates on either BPA-free lids for the Canadian market, or from Ball?

  25. Kitty says

    On 2001 Bernardin (canning supplies manufacturer) in Ontario consolidated their production to Muncie, Indiana. I think BPA is banned in Canada. Does that mean that Allistra makes BPA free lids for Canadian customers but continues to sell us BPA coated lids? Ball & Bernardin are both subsidiaries of Alltrista.

    • Theresa Loe says

      Excellent question Kitty. I think the only way we would know for sure is to call them. I don’t see anything saying that they are BPA free (and I think if they were, they would show off that fact, don’t you?)

      Of course, just because they are made in Indiana doesn’t mean they must have BPA in their lids. But it seems suspicious that nothing says “BPA free”.

  26. says

    Theresa, wow, I never thought about BPA in canning lids. I have been using a brand called Quattro Stagioni from Italy. I buy them a Sur la Table. Any idea if they have BPA? They are not a two piece lid. They are one piece. There is a white plastic thin coating inside. Thanks for your post. I’ve just started canning. Always wanted to! Just crazy the stuff we have to be watchful of.

    • Theresa Loe says

      Excellent question Sally.

      I do not know about those Italian canning lids. But I would bet they do NOT have BPA in them for the simple reason that most of the European countries do not allow it. I will check around and post here again if I find anything else out.

      Also remember that if you can properly (with the proper headspace and the jars stored in the upright position) your food should not come in contact with the lid other than a possible bubbling action during the canning process. The food must be in contact with the lid in order to leach into the food. But of course we don’t really want the BPA even close to our food, do we?

      Thanks for your comment. I’m going to check out the Italian jars from Sur la Table and see if I find more info on their lids.

  27. Christine says

    Wonderful information. Love your site. I have heard about the new canning lids that are reuseable. The article I read sounded like a lot of issues with them, they made it sound very hard to use them, lots of problems. Guess I’ll just wait for Ball to come out with the new ones that are BPA free.

    • Theresa Loe says

      Hi Christine -
      I wouldn’t say the BPA free lids are too difficult to use. They are just used “differently” from the way we are used to putting on lids. It took a couple of tries to get the feel for them. But after that, they seemed to work great.

      I have not heard any more news on the Ball lids. But I will keep my eyes peeled and post here when they do come out!

  28. says

    I am looking forward to canning my “fruits of labor” for the first time this fall. Your article was really helpful in giving me a starting place for what I should put my canned goods into. Thanks Theresa!

    • Theresa Loe says

      You are very welcome Carol. So glad to be of help. Be sure to check back often as I am about to launch weekly canning posts again as we dive into spring. Also, we have some canning how-to videos that will posted soon.

      Feel free to ask me canning questions as we get into the season and Happy Canning!

  29. loridean says

    I get excited when I find products that AREN’T coated with BPA. Anyone use those new Tattlers lids yet? They’re supposed to be reusable and BPA free!

    • Theresa Loe says

      I’ve used them Loridean and they work! I have listed a source up above in the article. They take a little practice, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly.

      • Theresa Loe says

        Hi Carolyn,

        Other people have voiced concern about what else might be in the lids other than BPA, but I never found anyone who stated what WAS in those lids. So thanks so much for mentioning this. I am linking it below so others can find it.

        Of course, we can always use weck jars (as I mention in this post), but they are cost prohibitive to most people who can large quantities.

        However, even David mentions in his post as I do that if you give adequate headspace, the food should never come in contact with the jar lid. All the studies are showing the leaching happening while in contact with the BPA. If the food never touches it, the leaching does not happen. Yes, there is an argument about off gas from the BPA, but that has not yet been studied and would probably be minimal.

        The bottom line is that glass (Weck jars) are the only way to be 100% free from even being in close proximity of any and all chemicals.

        Here is the link to David’s post: http://davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/faqs/food/bpa-free-canning-lids/

  30. says

    As a consumer this is so frustrating. All of the responsibility is on us to research and wade through all of the claims just to get a product that isn’t potentially harmful. Thanks for writing this article.

    • Theresa Loe says

      You are absolutely right Mike. It is VERY frustrating, especially because the information coming out is always changing. One week it is safe, the next week it is not. It takes time to weed through it all. We shouldn’t have to do this.

  31. Tammy Leonhardt says

    Thank you for ths information, I found it very helpful. I am growing my own veggies, considering a green house for year round produce, raising my own chickens for fresh eggs, and exploring wind and solar power for my home. I may have to resort to vegetarianism, as I am unable to eat anything I knew to be alive (it is different when your food comes to you all wrapped up) Now I wonder-how safe is the microwave?

    • Theresa Loe says

      Hi Tammy,

      I am so glad that you found this article helpful. I too raise chickens (for eggs) and they have become family pets. I would not be able to eat them, so I understand where you are coming from. Keep us posted on your progress with the wind and solar power as it sure looks like you are doing a lot to “grow a greener world”!

  32. Joe says

    But in response to TC’s comment Theresa, I agree with you. Knowledge is power, and in many cases it also prolongs our life. We didn’t know a whole lot about the dangers of smoking while pregnant either, but these days, thankfully, you’d be hard pressed to find an intellegent woman (who cares about her unborn child) smoking during those most critical 9 months.
    Thanks for the great post as always.

    • says

      “… and in many cases it also prolongs our life.” True. But not in all cases Joe. See my comment above about genetics.

      I’m sure you’ve heard of, and might know some, smokers who’ve puffed all their lives and lived to be 100-years old or older. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating smoking by any means. I quit in 2003 after smoking for 32 years, and I’m glad I did because I can feel the difference on a personal level. I will say this: I sometimes miss the “benefits.”

      • Theresa Loe says

        TC,
        Of course I know of people who don’t drop dead from smoking. There are always people who can do everything, risk everything and take chance with their health on many levels – banking on the hope that they are one of the “lucky ones”. But that is not a risk I am willing to take.

  33. says

    I’m curious as to how we all survived from eating the food our grandparents canned using lids containing “synthetic estrogen?”

    • Theresa Loe says

      Hello TC,

      It is great to see you here, my friend.

      Actually, our grandparents did NOT use lids containing BPA. The use of BPA comes after our grandparents time. But I understand your point.

      I suppose it is also amazing that so many people of my generation survived smoking and eating food laced with pesticide too. But I don’t think that is a reason to continue the practice since we know such acts cause cancer.

      As I state in the article, if the food is not in direct contact with the food, there should be no leaching. If anyone with BPA lids uses proper canning methods, there should be no BPA in the food.

      You are correct, TC – with all the dangers we are constantly finding, it is a amazing that we survive at all.

      • says

        I think something must be said for the genetic complexities that make each of us so very different, and yet the same.

        And isn’t it practically impossible to keep some canned foods from contacting the underside of the lid (tomato sauce for instance)? Most folks I know turn the jar every which way when they first look at it, especially if they just got it as a gift or are looking to see if the contents appear to be the same throughout. The next thing we’ll hear is that we should we be attaching some type of warning label to the home-canned goods we give as gifts. What say you?

        • Theresa Loe says

          TC-
          Agreed. People turn the jar every which way. But as I say in the article, it is the long term storage that causes the leaching. A few seconds of turning, even a few minutes upside down, should not be a problem. But I would not advice turning the jar upside down for weeks or even days at a time.

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