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ISO chopped/diced tomatoes NOT in cans

hi hounds,

i've got a dilemma. i used to regularly buy pomi chopped tomatoes. around this time last year, they went out of stock (see this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/697145). they came back in stock for a while; i stocked up. they are out of stock again.

pomi in canada is distributed by molisana. i called molisana's HQ and they don't even know when the pomi chopped tomatoes are coming back. apparently, there is a problem in italy with the packaging. this seems odd to me since the pomi strained products are fine. i even asked molisana to let me buy any remaining cartons of pomi chopped tomatoes from their warehouse! molisana has advised me to call every month to find out what's going on ...maybe they'll have a positive update for me one of these months?

fwiw, pomi is owned by an italian company called boschi. http://www.boschifood.it/Prodotti.asp... i don't write or speak italian and therefore can't contact boschi ... otherwise, trust me, i would!

in the meantime, i need to find a substitute ... but i want to AVOID chopped/diced tomatoes in cans (trying to stay away from BPA). does anyone know of any product that fits the bill?

thanks!!!

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  1. or how about whole, San Marzano tomatoes in jars???

    1 Reply
    1. re: acd123

      hey acd,

      whole tomatoes in jars would be great. but i've never seen those ... i've only ever seen pureed/strained tomatoes in jars. am i missing something?

    2. I got mine at the large No Frills at Dundas & Lansdowne but that was last December.

      1. Shoot, I didn't know those weren't around anymore - we just opened a box we had in the pantry from last summer or so, out of desperation for dinner on Monday! And it was great - I put it on the shopping list to get next week! Oh well - if I ever see it I'll post here.

        1. White Linen Marinara sauce in liter jars is worth trying. It has chopped Italian tomatoes and a rich, substantial flavor. I buy it at Costco but there may be other sources.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jayt90

            thanks jay ... i have been meaning to try that out (seen it in costco). however, i make batches of my own sauce so never got around to it!

          2. FYI, Ontario Natural organic canned tomatoes (whole/diced/crushed) are packed in BPA-free cans.

            11 Replies
            1. re: Tatai

              Like Utopia? Good info. I like the san marzanos but I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

              1. re: acd123

                hey acd,

                where you buy your utopia tomatoes?

                i called utopia directly and they said they sell to loblaws but i've never seen utopia at any of the loblaws i've been to!

                they also told me that not all their cans are BPA free ... just some of them. the lady gave me a whole whack of codes to look for. i can post that here if anyone is interested.

                1. re: lilaki

                  Please post the can codes for the BPA-free cans. I wonder why all the cans are not BPA-free, or do they charge more for the BPA-free cans? (but then if it was a different can and price they'd have a different label and you wouldn't have to look for the codes).

                  1. re: Flexitarian

                    these are the codes from the lady that i spoke with at utopia:

                    XB691 10 246
                    XB691 10 247
                    XB691 10 251
                    XB691 10 252
                    XB691 10 253
                    XB691 10 258
                    XB691 10 259
                    XB691 10 260
                    XB691 10 261

                    i've never seen a utopia can so i have no idea where to find this code. maybe someone who has a utopia can handy can tell us?

                  2. re: lilaki

                    Utopia tomatoes are at Fiesta Farms.

                    -----
                    Fiesta Farms
                    200 Christie St, Toronto, ON M6G, CA

                    1. re: acd123

                      They are also in the larger Loblaw stores in the health food area.

                      1. re: jayt90

                        I've seen them at the Broadview and the Danforth store.

                        1. re: JennaBean

                          i'll have to scope out more loblaw stores ... the one @ 427 and burnhamthorpe has integrated their health foods with regular foods and they definitely don't carry it. and i was at super store last night and didn't see utopia in the health food section. thanks!

                      2. re: acd123

                        excellent - i'll have to make a trip there. thanks.

                        1. re: lilaki

                          My location can have stock issues at times (of all of their products) so if you have a long drive, call first :-)

                  3. re: Tatai

                    hi tatai,

                    great to know! thank you. do you know where i can purchase this?

                  4. If considering other brands, Chef Michael Smith says whole tomatoes are not cooked in the can, unlike the chopped and crushed type that are, so I would think even if in a BPA can, there'd be less hazard.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Wiley

                      Don't they pasturize them in the cans?

                      1. re: Wiley

                        hi wiley,

                        thanks for your post. however, i believe that i read somewhere that it's the tomatoes acidity that is a problem with the BPA lining (not just the heating).

                      2. I took a look in a number of stores for tomatoes in glass jars or tetra paks. I was able to find many but the problem is they are all strained/crushed tomatoes and I mean really strained and crushed so that actualy pieces of tomato aren't really visible (almost like a thick soup). I was looking for something where the tomatoes were either whole or just chopped.

                        (By the way, I took a look at the Utopia organic tomatoes in cans and at the product codes that supposedly identified BPA free cans, which someone identified above, but no codes that were on the cans came close so i guess they are all sold out. Maybe there are some new codes identifying BPA free cans but I didn't call the company to find out as I think that I'd likely be chasing around town a lot to find those codes)

                        So, is my only option to get whole or chopped tomatoes in the winter that are packaged BPA free, ie. not in cans (and not imported or hothouse), is to can them myself when they are in season here? Or is there a variety like this that is sold in glass jars?

                          1. re: crawfish

                            I had checked the website before but haven't really found them around town. Does anyone know who offers them, especially the ones in the amber glass? I had emailed the company but haven't heard back.

                            I wonder whhy the diced or whole tomatoes are not offered in glass jars but only cans. Does anyone know? Not a problem with the diced tomatoes, but I am sure they could find a wider necked glass bottle to get the whole tomatoes in.

                            1. re: Flexitarian

                              I've seen Eden products around. Pretty sure the Kitchen Table sells them (I can look today and confirm this). Maybe even the organics aisles at Loblaws if memory serves.

                              1. re: magic

                                Confirmed - Kitchen Table (Atrium location) carries Eden products. $4.89 per can.

                            2. re: crawfish

                              So, even if we buy jarred tomato products the lids can have BPA present??

                              Is this right??

                              Anyone??

                              1. re: magic

                                I think you'd have to read this at Eden Foods' website at http://www.edenfoods.com/faqs/view.ph...

                                It says the following:

                                'Is the amber glass tomato jar lid BPA free?

                                A search for a lid for our glass jars again confirmed that 'there's no such thing as a perfect food package.' Regardless, we found the best there is.

                                The inside of the twist caps has two coats of sealer between the food and the metal of the cap. The first applied coating has BPA present. The second protective sealant does not, isolating the first coating from contact with the jar's contents.

                                Potential for migration of BPA is reduced by the following:

                                An additional protective vinyl base overcoat facing the food, isolating the epoxy BPA containing coating. The coating containing BPA can never be in contact with the food.
                                The cap's inner surface is separated from the food by an area of air/vacuum.
                                The surface area exposed to the food is substantially less for a twist cap than for canned goods.

                                Today's most stringent regulations for food safety is in the European Union where these twist caps have been tested as safe in regards to BPA for use on food products. Currently, we are told, there is no known viable alternative to BPA based epoxy coatings that provides the same level of corrosion resistance and is as safe. We continually push our cap suppliers to develop BPA free constructed caps that will deliver required corrosion resistance, shelf life, and safety.

                                My conclusion: Technically it is present but not in contact with the food really and so I am not very concerned. But, I think I'll likely can a load of tomatoes I buy at farmers markets next year and in glass jars with glass lids (no threat of BPA there) mainly because I want tasty chopped and whole tomatoes (with a low carbon footprint) during the winter which one cannot get commercially in glass jars or tetra paks.

                                  1. re: magic

                                    Thomas Canning, which produces the Utopia brand of tomatoes, just informed me their Utopia organic tomatoes (note: not the conventional ones) are now packaged in BPA-free cans which have a new vinyl liner (but packaged in a plant that also packages in cans with liners that do have BPA in them, so technically they cannot say BPA-free cans as the BPA can travel in the air). However, that's good enough for me to buy their locally grown Ontario organic tomatoes.

                                    Also, Utopia organic tomatoes are available either crushed or whole in these BPA-free cans. The person who started this thread wanted chopped or diced tomatoes. This is the only way I have found to buy whole tomatoes in cans, which then can be chopped or diced, that are BPA-free. The only producer which I have found that provides chopped tomatoes not in cans is POMI, which provides them in tetra paks, which I suppose are BPA-free, but they are hard to find in Toronto (the strained ones are easy to find). Eden Foods only provides them strained or crushed and those both are basically pureed tomatoes.

                                    Finally a way to get whole canned tomatoes without this nasty chemical. And, locally grown and organic to boot!

                                    1. re: Flexitarian

                                      Fantastic legwork! Thank you Flexitarian! GREAT to know.

                                      I'm assuming this new vinyl liner is safe? Not just replacing one evil with another...

                                      1. re: magic

                                        Funny you should ask. I posed that exact question to them and they said that they will look into it and that few understood that BPA-free doesn't mean one is home-free on the chemical front. They told me who the manufacturer was of these BPA-free cans and I also emailed them to ask. Haven't heard back yet from either.

                                        For those of you concerned about chemicals, even though tomatoes packed in tetrapaks are BPA-free there is a host of other chemicals that are in the tetrapak interior plastic lining and leach into the product, many of which have not been studied, not to mention the package is asceptic and therefore sterlized using chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide (glass jars can be sterilized simply with heat).

                                        Also, apparently tomato products in glass jars are inverted and heated for about an hour in order to sterilize the lids and the lids do contain BPA, which therefore would have the opportunity to leach into the tomato product in the jar when it is inverted. I am not aware of any BPA free lids yet. Eden Foods now provide tomato products in (amber) glass jars and they are available in Toronto grocery stores and I will email them to find out if they use this inverted sterlizing method and, if so, whether they use BPA-free lids.

                                        I'm planning to 'can' my own locally grown tomatoes, tomato sauce, salsa and ketchup this summer using Weck glass jars and lids (a 100 yr old German company that has perfected the process of canning with glass jars and glass lids along with a special rubber gasket they supply), but I do want a backup retail canned or glass-jarred tomato product, hence my 'quest'!.

                                        http://www.weckcanada.ca - Canadian Supplier
                                        http://www.weckjars.com - US Supplier

                                        1. re: Flexitarian

                                          Flexitarian, Ontario Natural canned organic tomato products are also packaged in BPA-free cans. Their product line includes diced tomatoes. http://www.ontarionatural.com/Ontario...

                                          1. re: Tatai

                                            Thanks. I contacted the company and they told me that soon they will be labelling the cans as such too. That's one more company other than Utopia with their organic tomatoes that provides whole tomatoes in BPA-free cans.

                                            1. re: Flexitarian

                                              Ontario Natural Food Co-Op refuses to let me know what chemicals are that are lining the inside of their new BPA-free cans. They cite the 'proprietary nature' of the situation and assure me the lining is ''approved'. That's hardly reassuring given how many products were 'approved' that later were found to be harmul health-wise. And, of course, what good is an assurance once your health has been compromised. You would think they'd want to be transparent about it. Utopia had no problem telling me who manufactures their BPA-free can and said they will report back as to what the chemicals that line it are once they find out.. The last thing that should be done is to replace one bad chemical with others, just because the latter are BPA-free. I certainly won't be buying Ontario Natural products given their brush-off.

                                              1. re: Flexitarian

                                                Ooh, that doesn't sound good. Ok, thanks for the info once again Flexitarian! Great work.

                                                1. re: Flexitarian

                                                  Nature of Things covered the obesity epidemic this week and one of the researchers claimed they're replacing BPA with BPS, a very similar chemical which is just as bad.

                                                  1. re: hal2010

                                                    Thanks for that info. That's exactly my concern. I'm going to let Utopia know about that as they expressed concern about that type of situation with their BPA-free cans.

                                                    Having said that, I was just at Costco Billy Bishop Way and saw 'La San Marzano' stained tomatoes in 6 packs of 24 oz glass jars and bought one. These are the same tomatoes, albeit strained not partial or whole, that are available in those very large 'La San Marzano' 3.78L cans and the smaller 6 pack of cans that Costco also sells, but I have never seen them in glass jars. The price per unit was almost exactly the same as the cans.

                                                    If you can get past some possible exposure of BPA into the product through the underside of the metal lid these make a very good low cost alternative to the BPA-lined 'La San Marzano' canned tomatoes.

                                                    1. re: Flexitarian

                                                      I did a taste test of the La San Marzano strained tomatoes in glass jars and the ones in cans, both from Costco, and the canned tomatoes definitely had a bit of a metallic taste while the ones in glass did not (and the latter were cheaper to boot!)

                                                      1. re: Flexitarian

                                                        There is a $2 jar of tomatoes at Highland Farms that may meet your criteria: it is Divella, and you can see seeds and small chunks of tomato, whereas the other jars have strained pulp.

                                                    2. re: hal2010

                                                      Do corporations think people, in this online age, are morons?

                                                      Watch how quickly we never buy products from said entities....

                                                    3. re: Flexitarian

                                                      Well, Ontario Natural Food Co-Op finally emailed me back after I emailed a few of the higher ups there (having been unsatisfied with the answers I was getting). They forwarded me a letter from the manufacturer of their cans which stated that the cans they use have a 'vinyl-based liner' instead of an epoxy-based liner. They also informed that the line was not manufacturered from bisphenol-A nor did it contain any 'intentionally added bisphenol-A'. Strange wording which of course this begs the question of whether there is any 'unintentionally added' bisphenol-A in the can (but I guess if it was unintentional then they wouldn't know, would they?).

                                                      Now I am curious as to what chemicals are in the vinyl-based liner. and will be enquiring about that (as I have of Thomas Canning/Utopia). Maybe it doesn't technically have bisphenol A but something just as bad, or untested as to whether it is bad.

                                                      By the way, Ontario Natural Food Co-Op uses the same provider of non-bisphenol-A cans as Utopia does for their organic tomatoes in cans.

                                                      1. re: Flexitarian

                                                        Thx for the reoprt and continued legwork Flexitartian! Awesome.

                                                        Please keep it up and provide reports. We are interested and invested.

                                                2. re: Flexitarian

                                                  I thank you for your dogged determination in finding an acceptable container for preserved tomato products. Whoever offers something that is safe - that is the company I will support with cashola. Thanks again! Feel free to report as you make more findings...

                                    2. i have started using mutti diced tomatoes. they are in tetra pak like pomi but slightly smaller container. i get them at longos.

                                      1. Pomi tomatoes in tetra packs were on the shelf today at the Metro (Dominion) at Yonge and Parkview (I think its Parkview) North York. They were on sale for $1.94 and there were a lot of them on the shelf.

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