Pumpkin pie and green bean casserole were staples of our Thanksgiving table growing up. And, like in most hectic holiday households, the staple ingredients—pumpkin, evaporated milk, cream of mushroom soup—came from cans.
More recently my mom has discovered Martha Stewart and makes her own mushroom sauce for green bean casserole. But even TV chefs and cookbooks advise going straight for the can opener when it comes to pumpkin—who has time to roast a pumpkin at Thanksgiving?
This year I'm making time. The Breast Cancer Fund's new product-testing report, BPA in Thanksgiving Canned Food, has opened not just my eyes but my entire family’s eyes. Though we know there's BPA in canned food and avoid it most of the year, Thanksgiving always felt like the one day when we might as well overlook it.
But this will be my 1-year-old daughter's first Thanksgiving meal. We know that low doses of BPA can affect her rapidly developing endocrine system, and that lab studies link this chemical to breast cancer, infertility, early puberty and neurological problems.
Of the products we tested for the report, half of them contained enough BPA in a single serving to show health impacts in lab studies. A table full of can-supplemented classics—the pie, the casserole, a dish of gravy, a bowl of creamed corn—adds up to a concerning dose of BPA.
The trouble is most people have no idea that BPA is in their canned food. And sadly, even when confronted with the evidence, most manufacturers are not acting quickly enough to ensure that this chemical, and all chemicals linked to health harms, are out of food packaging.
That's why the Breast Cancer Fund started the Cans Not Cancer campaign. We're educating consumers about BPA in canned food and, together, we're pressuring manufacturers to replace BPA in cans with a safe alternative.
Join the Breast Cancer Fund as we urge manufacturers to go BPA-free and urge lawmakers to pass legislation to ensure that all food packaging is free from harmful chemicals. Let’s make sure that next year’s Thanksgiving can safely include canned food again.
As for this year, we'll be spending more time in the kitchen but less time worrying about BPA. If you're inspired to do the same, check out our can-free solutions for some favorite Thanksgiving recipes.