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What's Really In Packaged Foods? Two Studies On BPA And Bacteria

Two studies released this week revealed sober findings regarding the presence of trace contaminants in packaged foods.

Bacteria In Bottled Water

Scientists at Montreal's C-crest Laboratories have just found that certain bottled water brands (they declined to mention which specific brands) contained "surprisingly high" counts of heterotrophic bacteria in the bottles.

Thankfully, no serious pathogens were found in the bottled water, but more than 70 percent of the brands failed the standards for heterotrophic bacteria set by the United States Pharmacopeia.

A researcher in the study, Sonish Azam, said "Heterotrophic bacteria counts in some of the bottles were found to be in revolting figures of 100 times more than the permitted limit".

The bacteria found in some brands was 400 times higher than tap water.

While this bacteria would not pose a threat to healthy adults, it could harm pregnant women, young children and the elderly.

BPA In Canned Food

And another report released this week by The National Workgroup for Safe Markets brought to light new findings on the amounts of Bisphenol A (BPA) in canned foods.

BPA was found in 92% of the canned food samples, which included 50 food and beverage containers from households around the country.

The study also found the highest level of BPA ever in a US research study – 1,140 parts per billion were found in a can of DelMonte French Style Green Beans, donated from a participant's pantry in Wisconsin.

Similarly to the bacteria in bottled water, BPA can be especially harmful to pregnant women, babies, and children.

Some of the health impacts, according to the study, from consuming even a low-level of BPA include: obesity, low sperm count, miscarriage, infertility, heart disease, diabetes, changes in brain development, and predisposition to breast and prostate cancer.

The study recommends choosing fresh foods (preferably local and sustainably grown) whenever possible, and using dried, frozen products instead of canned goods. They also recommend purchasing products in glass jars or boxed packaging when available.

Read More:

  • 'Revolting' Levels Of Bacteria Found In Canadian Bottled Water (TreeHugger)
  • How To Never Drink Bottled Water Again (Planet Green)
  • The Bisphenol A Saga Heats Up (Food Politics)
  • The Plastic Panic: How worried should we be about everyday chemicals? (The New Yorker)

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