Assessing Links Between Canned Foods and Cancer

Most people understand food poisoning but they never stop to think about the possibility that preserved foods may come with health risks.
February 12, 2012

Although most people understand the ins and outs of avoiding food poisoning and health risks associated with freshly prepared foods, they never stop to think about the possibility that preserved foods may come along with their own health risks.

Recent studies conducted within the last couple of years have actually shown possible links between canned foods and escalated cancer risks. For instance, an independent study conducted last year by the Breast Cancer Fund assessed the safety risks associated with a variety of popular and widely consumed canned foods in connection with breast cancer.

Harmful levels of Bisphenol A (BPA) were found to be present in a wide variety of widely consumed canned goods, many of which are popularly consumed as part of festive holiday meals. They included tinned green beans, evaporated milk, cranberry sauce, and canned corn.

BPA is a component of plastics used to manufacture food containers, kitchen utensils, and more. It is also often present in the linings of cans. The problem with BPA is that is can be toxic and cause diseases like cancer should it happen to leach into the foods it contains, so the fact that it’s doing so in regards to many canned goods and prepared foods is alarming.

The fact that so many holiday-related goods were found to contain harmful levels of BPA is especially concerning. Shannon Coughlin, a representative of the Breast Cancer Fund, had the following to say about it:

“Just one plate of your holiday favourites could deliver a potentially harmful dose of BPA. Then you get seconds. Then there's the leftovers. And then there's the rest of the year – most of us eat canned foods daily or weekly. Even if we don't use them much at home, canned foods are used in a lot of restaurant and cafeteria food. When you think of this daily exposure, you start to see the urgency of getting this chemical out of food cans.”