Wow, great response to our social media advocacy yesterday asking Campbell's to spell out what it's using to replace BPA in can linings! This amazing community of moms, dads, cancer survivors and everyday activists flooded Campbell's Facebook timeline with our alphabet soup picture, and thousands shared the message with friends.
(If you didn't see the picture yesterday, you can still post and share it.)
A few takeaways from the day:
(1) Campbell's sparse replies don't answer our question.
The company's canned (ahem) responses to people on Facebook:
"We appreciate you reaching out, Heather. We are happy to share with you that we are researching and using a number of alternatives from FDA’s list of approved food contact materials. We respect your concern as a valued consumer and hope this helps."
"We respect your concerns and appreciate you reaching out, Erin. We are using only safe and approved food contact materials. We anticipate that there may be several types of packaging solutions needed to ensure safety and quality across our various products and can package types. As with all packaging, any new alternatives will follow all regulatory policies and requirements. We hope this helps."
The reply is nice, but it doesn't actually help, since Campbell's still isn't telling us what it's using to replace BPA. And as we've mentioned previously, we have concerns about the safety and lack of data about some of the "approved" alternatives.
In fact, as a few savvy Facebook posters pointed out, "FDA-approved" is practically meaningless when it comes to safety because regulations governing food contact materials are woefully inadequate. BPA is FDA-approved, and so is formaldehyde (not that formaldehyde is being used in canned foods). Doesn't give you confidence, does it?
(2) Our community knows its stuff about BPA. See above re: "FDA-approved," but there are many more examples from yesterday, too.
Not only are you showing Campbell's that you're wise to BPA and concerned about alternatives, you're also sharing your knowledge with friends. Many of them probably didn't know until yesterday that BPA is in canned foods, even if they knew that BPA is a problem.
By spreading the word you are driving consumer awareness and demand for truly safe canned food—not just from Campbell's but from all canned food makers.
(3) This is personal.
As Breast Cancer Fund staff, it's our job to look at the science, to examine holes in regulations and strategize ways to protect people on a population level. But yesterday you showed Campbell's that individual people—moms, sisters, sons, friends and lots of people who grew up with Campbell's soup—care about BPA for deeply personal reasons. You showed that corporations shouldn’t and can’t ignore your concerns. Even if we aren’t getting the answers we want today, you made it clear in your comments on Campbell's Facebook timeline that the company needs to be listening to you:
If BPA won't be in your can linings anymore, what will you replace it with? I've had cancer & I don't want it again.
In June of 2011 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a mastectomy, and a year of chemo and radiation I am a survivor. I hope you can save not only me, but future generations, from products that may cause cancer. Please do whatever you can to stop it. Thanks
As a woman with an endocrine disorder, and a mother of little girl whom I hope doesn't inherit my disorder, I do not allow BPA in my home. This means we don't use Campbell's soups and I miss them very much….Please, restore our faith in your company. We have a right to know what we're putting in our bodies and the bodies of our precious families.
Do the chemical scientists who formulate the lining for your cans eat your soups? This generation of moms and dads want to know that what they are putting in their kids mouths isn't ending up as more toxic load in their little bodies!
As someone living with stage 4 cancer, I am trying to be super careful to avoid as many toxins as I can. I cannot buy your products until I know that your replacement for BPA is safe.
I HAVE been a campbells soup consumer but I am now a one month Breast Cancer survivor. I will not purchase any more of your soup until I see a response to this.
What's in your can linings? Cancer survivors trying to avoid exposing ourselves to additional carcinogens want to know!
You spoke...will Campbell's listen?