In the era of processed foods and canned commodities, it was only a matter of time before someone warned us that canned foods and preservatives affect our health adversely. With the ever-increasing demand, natural foods are processed, mixed with preservatives and canned to increase shelf-life. The recent outcry about canned tomatoes causing cancer is not without a valid reason.
Tomatoes are the fourth most commonly consumed fresh vegetable and the most frequently consumed canned vegetable in the American diet.1 While fresh tomatoes are actually considered to be the cancer-fighting foods, canned tomatoes are considered as harmful to our health. Not just canned tomatoes, canned anything seems to be the problem here. Most canned foods are a concern because the lining of almost all canned foods is made from a chemical called bisphenol-A, or BPA.
Can Tomato Prevent Cancer?
Lycopene has been known to protect against prostate cancer through various properties including decreased lipid oxidation, inhibition of cancer cell proliferation, and most notably potent anti-oxidant properties.2
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, cancer preventive potential tomatoes come from being a non-starchy vegetable as well as a source of vitamin C and carotenoids. The carotenoid lycopene is especially well-studied for its cancer preventing properties.3 However, results linking foods containing lycopene to lower cancer risk are currently inconsistent.
What Is BPA?
BPA, or in scientific terms bisphenol-A, is a man-made industrial chemical commonly utilized to manufacture hard, clear plastic including food and drinks packaging, microwave ovenware, storage containers, water and milk bottles, plastic tableware and cutlery. It is also used
BPA contains harmful chemicals that are toxic to humans. It is so toxic that it has been banned from baby bottles in Canada. But it’s usage is still widespread in food cans. BPA used in can linings can leach into the food, and finally, end up in our body. Studies show that BPA actually affects the way genes work inside the brain. Even the FDA agrees that there is a problem with BPA and is attempting to minimize the amounts found in canned foods.
What About Canned Tomatoes?
Tomatoes are believed to be exceptionally dangerous due to their high acidity, which seems to cause BPA to leach from the lining
Is BPA Safe?
Evidence shows that BPA can adversely affect the human body even at very low levels. In fact, there is no safe dose of BPA and it is classified as an endocrine disruptor, which means it can interfere with the hormone systems of mammals. But regulatory authorities around the world, including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the US FDA and Health Canada, say our low exposure to the chemical is not harmful. More research involving humans is required to back this claim.6
Countries including Canada, the European
|↑1||Canene-Adams, Kirstie, Jessica K. Campbell, Susan Zaripheh, Elizabeth H. Jeffery, and John W. Erdman. “The tomato as a functional food.” The Journal of nutrition 135, no. 5 (2005): 1226-1230.|
|↑2||Wei, Melissa Y., and Edward L. Giovannucci. “Lycopene, tomato products, and prostate cancer incidence: a review and reassessment in the PSA screening era.” Journal of oncology 2012 (2012).|
|↑3||AICR’s Foods That Fight Cancer. 2017.|
|↑4||World Health Organization (WHO). “Bisphenol A (BPA)-Current state of knowledge and future actions by WHO and FAO.” International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN). Erişim Tarihi 4, no. 10 (2010).|
|↑5||BPA Buyer Beware – Toxic BPA and regrettable substitutes found in the linings of canned food.|
|↑6||World Health Organization (WHO). “Bisphenol A (BPA)-Current state of knowledge and future actions by WHO and FAO.” International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN). Erişim Tarihi 4, no. 10 (2010).|