EWG Scores Food Safety
The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) is a non-profit consumer advocacy organization that investigates the safety of common household products—such as cosmetics, hair care products, and sunscreens—and weighs in on the relative safety of foods. They publish an annual list of the most pesticide-laden whole fruits and vegetables, for example.
Called the “Dirty Dozen,” it’s a useful guide for conscientious shoppers on a tight budget who want to get the most bang for the buck when shopping for fresh produce. With EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, and it’s equally useful “Clean Fifteen” list in hand, it’s easier to make informed decisions about when to spend your hard-earned cash on more-expensive organic produce, and when it’s probably okay to buy less expensive conventionally grown foods.
Now, EWG has published a guide to canned foods. Canned foods are a growing source of concern, because many manufacturers have continued to make use of the endocrine disruptor, bisphenol A (BPA) in the linings of their cans. BPA is a chemical frequently used by the plastics industry to render plastics more pliable. Unfortunately, BPA is an estrogen mimic, meaning it resembles the potent hormone, estrogen, enough to fool the body’s cells into thinking they’re supposed to react to the presence of estrogen.
BPA exposure has been linked to everything from reproductive health disorders to an increased risk of developing obesity. Many manufacturers have voluntarily discontinued using these chemicals, at least in sensitive products such as baby pacifiers. But many have refused to eliminate BPA from their products, or have failed to reveal which of their products may or may not contain the chemical. That’s where EWG comes in. They’ve independently evaluated hundreds of canned goods from dozens of food manufacturers and published the findings online. EWG accepts donations to support their ongoing research and advocacy efforts, but reports are free.
This is an excellent resource for enlightened shoppers who are tired of waiting for food manufacturers to do the right things and eliminate this known hazard from our food supply. You may be surprised by some of the ostensibly healthful foods, such as canned beans, that rated a failing score. Conversely, you may find that some of your favorite brands are perfectly safe to continue using with confidence. You can also download EWG’s free Food Scores app to your smartphone. Visit www.ewg.org.