RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The nation's second-largest grocery store chain has announced that it's going BPA free, at least with regard to its own wares. The Kroger Co., which operates 2,458 grocery stores in 31 states, announced that it's transitioning its private-label canned goods to cans that do not contain the toxic hormone disruptor bisphenol A (BPA). The company is also switching out all its store receipt paper to a BPA-free alternative. This move could have widespread impact, considering that the Kroger chain is second only to Walmart in terms of grocery store sales.
BPA, a.k.a. bisphenol A, interferes with the body's hormone receptors and has been linked to a slew of other ailments, from heart disease to obesity. Over a billion pounds of the stuff is created every year, and it's used in a variety of applications, such as the epoxy lining used in cans to prevent acidic substances from reacting to the metal, and as a printing aid on thermal receipts (like the ones you get at gas stations or whenever you use a credit card). In 2007, Kroger announced that it would no longer sell products intended for children, such as plastic cups, utensils, or pacifiers, that contain BPA. This most recent move will remove the chemical from its private-label brand canned goods: Kroger, Value Brand, Private Selection, Comforts, Mirra, Active Lifestyle, and Fresh Selections.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the company asserted that this move was not due to any safety concerns related to BPA, but rather to customer demand for products without the chemical. "There is no conclusive scientific evidence that this minimal exposure to BPA in can linings poses any risks to consumers," the statement read. "Kroger recognizes that Bisphenol A (BPA) is perceived as a chemical of concern by some customers. To address these concerns, Kroger is working to limit the presence of BPA in several areas."
Though Kroger executives may not believe that the low levels of BPA found in canned goods are harmful, there's plenty of scientific evidence available to suggest that they are. To learn more about problems associated with BPA in canned goods and receipts, see our Topic Page on BPA and read: