Campbell's promises more than it can deliver

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And while we re on the topic of BPA, we d like to applaud ACSH colleague Jon Entine s recent exposé of the disconnect between public relations and scientific evidence that has resulted from uninformed public outcry over the chemical.

How did the world s largest soup company go from pariah to paragon over its use of the controversial chemical bisphenol A? Entine asks in his investigative piece for Forbes. It lied, he explains. He then goes on to tell an ugly story of what happens when ideology corrupts science.

So what exactly happens? Well, in the case of the Campbell Soup Company, which recently bowed to public pressure by announcing that it would phase out the use of the BPA-containing epoxy lining in its canned goods, it makes a public announcement that it can t deliver on.

While we won t presume to summarize the entirety of Entine s thorough investigation of Campbell s handling of the BPA issue, the gist is this: Despite the company s recognition that, according to the science, the BPA used in its cans is safe, they decided that it would be a better PR move to announce a switch to some other substance. The problem, of course, is that when it comes to finding a safe and effective substitute for BPA, nothing yet exists.

So, as Entine explains, Campbell s said one thing to appease the activists groups that had been dogging it, and then did another thing when it came to the lining of their cans: They stuck with BPA. We believe BPA is safe, the company s Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability told Entine. But how can we be scientifically credible without appearing to be ignoring our consumers? That, indeed, is the question.

Dr. Bloom is impressed. Entine really nailed this one, he says. His logic and interpretations of the facts are dead-on. And he pulls no punches. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to know how these kinds of decisions are really made.

You can read Entine s answer here, along with his report of how manufacturers are struggling to find a substitute for BPA on grounds that are scientifically unnecessary yet publicly expedient.