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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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What are your fish cans lined with? (about PET and BPA)

Like most food cans, our fish cans are lined with polyethylene terephthalate or PET, which is an extremely common food plastic packaging material. Likewise, some of the plastic pouches in which our vacuum-sealed frozen fish are packaged may contain PET.
 
(NOTE: PET and phthalates* are NOT the same, and our cans contain NO phthalates. Unlike phthalates, PET does NOT possess endocrine-disrupting properties.)
 
The PET lining in our cans is designed to keep the fish from acquiring a metallic taste and to prevent rusting. PET is used in everything from soft drink and water bottles to peanut butter jars and surgical implants.
 
Although experts agree that more research is needed, PET has been deemed safe by the U.S. FDA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for use in the food packaging applications for which it has been tested and approved.

Today, even the most minuscule level of migration of plastic packaging into foods can be measured. 

These tests have found that the migration of any components of PET plastics under laboratory conditions is well below the maximum safety levels set by the U.S. FDA and the EFSA.
 
What about BPA?
Minuscule traces of BPA have appeared in tests of foods packaged without BPA ... findings that show the ubiquity of BPA in the environment.

Accordingly, we have decided not to claim that our any of our can linings are “BPA-Free” until we find a lab that can reliably test the linings … a search that so far has been fruitless.

No seafood company of which we are aware claims their cans are BPA free. We recommend this Washington Post article on the subject: Alternatives to BPA containers not easy for U.S. foodmakers to find

Here's what we know, and don't know, about the BPA status of each of our cans:
  • Sardines - We have written assurances that our current sardine cans are BPA-free.
  • Salmon and Tuna - Based on prior written assurances from the companies that make the cans for our salmon and tuna, we believe that our salmon, and tuna cans are BPA-free. However, in recent years, our salmon and tuna canners and their can makers have each declined our requests to renew those written assurances, citing legal and liability concerns. Eight parts per billion BPA appeared in one test of our canned albacore tuna, probably due to environmental contamination*.
  • Dungeness Crab and Smoked Mussels - These can linings probably do contain BPA, which the can makers add to protect against corrosion from the high acidity of shellfish.
*You may be interested in these past newsletter articles on the subject:
 

 
*Our cans are phthalate-free
Phthalates (more accurately, orthophthalates) are a family of plastic compounds used to make other plastics flexible, and have been shown to possess endocrine-disrupting properties.
 
Although “polyethylene terephthalate” (the plastic) and “phthalate” (the additive) may sound alike, they are chemically dissimilar.
 
PET is not an orthophthalate, nor does PET contain orthophthalates.
 
 
Sources
  • Lyche JL, Gutleb AC, Bergman A, Eriksen GS, Murk AJ, Ropstad E, Saunders M, Skaare JU. Reproductive and developmental toxicity of phthalates. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2009 Apr;12(4):225-49. Review.
  • Rider CV, Furr JR, Wilson VS, Gray LE Jr. Cumulative effects of in utero administration of mixtures of reproductive toxicants that disrupt common target tissues via diverse mechanisms of toxicity. Int J Androl. 2010 Apr;33(2):443-62. Review.

Our Guarantee

Click here to read a letter from Randy, describing the genesis and goals of Vital Choice.

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