The history of food can coatings dates back to the early 1800s, when the first food cans were made from tinplate, a type of steel coated with a thin layer of tin to prevent rust. These early cans were simple in design and lacked any type of protective coating on the inside, which meant that the food inside was exposed to the metal and could become contaminated.

It wasn’t until the late 1800s that scientists began to develop coatings for food cans that would protect the food from the metal and prevent contamination. The first coatings were made from natural substances like varnish, but these coatings were not very effective and often peeled or flaked off over time.

In the early 1900s, chemists began to experiment with synthetic coatings made from resins and plastics, which proved to be much more effective at preventing contamination and improving the shelf life of canned food. One of the first synthetic coatings was made from vinyl chloride, which was used to line food cans starting in the 1930s.

In the 1970s and 1980s, food can manufacturers began to use epoxy-based coatings, which were highly effective at preventing contamination and were resistant to a wide range of chemicals and acids. However, epoxy coatings contained bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that was later found to have potential health risks, particularly for infants and young children.

As concerns about BPA grew in the early 2000s, food can manufacturers began to develop new coatings that were free from BPA and other harmful chemicals. These new coatings were made from a variety of materials, including oleoresins, which are derived from natural sources like pine trees, and ceramic coatings, which provide an extremely durable barrier against metal.

BPA is a chemical compound that has been widely used in the manufacturing of plastics and resins since the 1950s. It is commonly found in many consumer products, including food packaging such as plastic bottles, food can linings, and other food containers. BPA is also used in the manufacturing of other products like thermal paper, which is used in receipts and tickets.

BPA has been a subject of concern in recent years due to potential health risks associated with exposure to the chemical. Studies have suggested that BPA may have hormonal effects on the body, which could potentially lead to developmental and reproductive problems.

One of the main concerns about BPA is its potential impact on fetal and child development. Animal studies have shown that exposure to BPA during pregnancy can lead to changes in the developing brain and reproductive system, as well as other health problems. While the effects of BPA exposure on human development are not yet fully understood, some studies have suggested that exposure to BPA during pregnancy may be linked to an increased risk of certain health problems, including behavioral problems, obesity, and cancer.

In addition to its potential impact on fetal and child development, BPA may also have other health risks. Studies have suggested that exposure to BPA may be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health problems.

While the potential health risks of BPA are a cause for concern, it’s important to note that the level of exposure to BPA in most consumer products is generally considered to be low. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that the amount of BPA that may be present in food packaging is safe, and the agency continues to monitor the latest research on the health effects of BPA.

However, some consumers may wish to reduce their exposure to BPA, particularly for infants and young children. There are several steps that can be taken to reduce BPA exposure, including:

  • Choosing products that are labeled “BPA-free” or “phthalate-free”
  • Using glass or stainless steel containers for food and beverages instead of plastic containers
  • Avoiding the use of plastic containers or bottles that are scratched or cracked, as they may release more BPA
  • Washing hands thoroughly after handling receipts or other thermal paper products

In recent years, many manufacturers have begun to develop alternatives to BPA for use in food packaging and other consumer products. These alternatives include materials like polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is commonly used in plastic bottles, and polylactic acid (PLA), which is a biodegradable material made from cornstarch.

Despite the potential health risks associated with BPA, it’s important to remember that food can coatings and other consumer products have played a crucial role in ensuring the safety and convenience of modern life. As technology and science continue to advance, it’s likely that new materials and coatings will be developed to replace BPA and other chemicals of concern, ensuring the safety and quality of consumer products for generations to come.

In recent years, there has been a shift towards more sustainable and environmentally-friendly coatings. Some manufacturers are exploring coatings made from biodegradable materials like cellulose, while others are developing coatings that are easier to recycle.

Despite the challenges and controversies surrounding food can coatings, they remain an essential part of the food industry, providing a safe and efficient way to preserve and transport food. As technology and science continue to advance, it’s likely that food can coatings will continue to evolve and improve, ensuring the safety and quality of canned foods for years to come.

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