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Sep 4, 2013 09:23 AM

Where to find non-BPA canned (or jarred) tomatoes?

I just moved back to Toronto after 15 years elsewhere, so I'm getting my bearings and figuring out a very different Toronto than the one I left.

After reading about the dangers of canned tomatoes, I've decided to remove them from my pantry rotation. Where can I get non-BPA packed tomatoes? Specifically, tetra-packed, jarred or specifically non-BPA canned.

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    1. re: magic

      Thanks for the reference. I ran a search on the board for bpa free tomatoes and came up with nothing, which is why I posted.

      1. re: serpah

        No problem. It's not easy to find, I know :)

    2. I did a lot of research on this over a year ago (there's another thread on here somewhere regarding this). The acidity in tomatoes present a particular challenge for canners. Utopia, an Ontario brand, apparently had some canned tomatos in non-BPA lined cans over a year ago but you had to identify those cans by serial number and I was never able to find any. Of course things always change so you have to keep checking on the current status.

      Also, my research found that BPA-free cans are not the Holy Grail of healthy can lining. It turns out that a BPA-free can lining may be such, but that the chemicals that are in those linings have been even less tested than BPA and some are even BPA-derivatives but may not be labelled as such. So, it may be BPA-free but it may be presenting just as much of a hazard as BPA.

      So, being a very healthy eater and exerciser and eating virtually nothing in cans except sardines from Wild Planet which are packed in 'BPA-free' cans (and always remembering that if I don't take care of my body, what am I going to live in?) I decided that I would only eat tomato products from glass jars. But, one must remember that the lining in the metal lid of the glass jar may have BPA but very little contents come in contact with it, if at all. If you are a member of Costco they sell 6 x 24 ounce jars of La San Marzano (the brand name not to be confused with official San Marzano tomatoes from the volcanic region of Pompei, although they may be unofficial ones from the same region) strained tomatoes for $5.99, a steal. at $1 each. Also, recently I bought a 720ml bottle of Martelli Pasata strained tomatoes on sale at Lady Yorke for $1.29 I think. I have heard that some of the organic food companies like Eden have tomato products in glass jars but have not been able to find any in Toronto.

      The other, and much better, alternative I am pursing is canning my own tomatoes. I just ordered so 'Weck' brand glass jars and lids that are known as the creme de la creme of canning jars. My Mom grows tons of tomatoes each year and also you can buy bushels of tomatoes at the local farmers markets very inexpensively. That way I control what goes in the jar. Also, I have not found any glass-jarred whole or partially whole tomatoes anywhere (anyone know why?) and this way I can preserve those too. It only takes one afternoon to do so, the Weck glass jars and lids can be reused and more importantly that way you can have that locked-in local tomato goodness (in any tomato variety you want) all year long and in the portion size that you want as Weck glass jars come in various sizes.


      Hope this helps.

      10 Replies
        1. re: Flexitarian

          I wish I could "like" this! We'll be doing our tomatoes in the next few weeks if you wanna come!

          1. re: LexiFirefly

            What an offer. If my dancecard weren't so full I would. Maybe next year?? If you'll have me!

            1. re: magic

              We should organize an event next year! Byo ingredients, jars and booze and do it up!! Maybe i'll even have a silhouette by then to make labels!!!!

          2. re: Flexitarian

            I should have also added that I have seen Tetra-Pak'd strained tomatoes in Toronto too. But, my research showed that they Tetra-Pak packaging has chemicals baked into the plastic lining of the package, the safety of which and leach-ability is largely untested. So, I also stay away from them.

            I hate to sound like Debbie Downer (or David Downer since I'm a guy) but glass is the only way to go if you want to limit the chemical exposure from tomato product packaging.

            1. re: Flexitarian

              I was glad to see your link to Weck all glass jars, unknown to me. They are costly ($39 for six 1 liter jars plus shipping.) I won't order this year as it is a bit late, but I'll look for used all glass sealers in my rural hood. There will be some in thrift stores hopefully. Rubber rings are in every Can Tire.

              There are quite a few brands of glass jar tomatoes from Italy, although none as cheap as Costco except on special. I am looking for a tomato chunk type rather than strained. I don't mind the minimal exposure to the lid. There also grape tomatoes from Sicily with a pop bottle cap. I have one but haven't opened it yet. I think I got it at Highland Farms.

              I have a can of PC organic tomatoes which I will open next, to see if the inside is white or metallic. Could be the same plant as Utopia or Eden, from Maidstone, Essex County. Or it could a Quebec source, like some other PC organics.

              1. re: jayt90

                Weck is a lot cheaper in the US. 3 1L juice jars are $11.65 so $23.30 for 6 or about 2/3's the price of in Canada. I am going to be using the 250ml juice jars for my tomato sauce as I use them mainly for pizzas and can coat 3 12" pizzas with 1 250ml jar. I order a ton of stuff from the US and have it delivered to a depot in Niagara Falls, NY for $5 per package and then go down once a year to pick up my stuff and then clear it myself across the border which is a cinch (13% tax basically is charged on everything).

                I'd also like chunk type tomatoes in glass jars but haven't been able to find them, but will check out Highland for the grape ones you found.

                As mentioned, I swore off any canned tomatoes as even though it might not be BPA-lined, the substitute could possibly be the same or worse as it is untested.

                I too have never seen anything cheaper than the Costco La San Marzano 6 x 1L strained tomatoes in glass jars for $5.99.

            2. re: Flexitarian

              Thanks Flexitarian. That's a great post. Now's the season for basil - you could combine canning tomatoes with making this year's pesto. What recipes/methods/tricks do you use? I've stewed tomatoes but never canned them.

              1. re: serpah

                This is the first year I am doing it so I don't know yet, but since I am using the sauce for pizza then it will be a very basic recipe adding probably almost no other ingredients.

                The pesto is a great idea which I should do because a key ingredient in pesto are pine nuts and I get that horrible syndrome called 'pine nut mouth' for about a week (google it) from those Asian pine nuts that Costco sells and so I only buy the non-Asian ones (which are not as long and slender as the Asian ones) to incorporate into the pesto.

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