Are Tetra Paks Nontoxic and Safe?

Written by:

Maia James

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After my recent blog post about BPA-free cans, and which brands are actually safe (hint: only one brand is!), a lot of you asked about boxed beans, wondering if these are a better bet. We set out to research the materials in these packaging used for boxed beans, and to find out if it’s Good Stuff, or at least Better Stuff for those of us looking to avoid canned products (but who has the time to soak and cook dry beans!).

Aseptic Packaging: Good Stuff?

All of the brands that we researched (Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Pacific Foods, and Imagine) use aseptic packaging, commonly a brand called Tetra Pak, for their boxed items–including beans, soups, and chicken stock, and more.

Tetra Pak Package Layer Construction

Aseptic cartons are shelf-stable and protect the taste of the food inside while being much lighter than cans. These cartons are made with three basic materials:

  1. Paper, to provide strength and stiffness.
  2. Polyethylene, a type of plastic that makes packages liquid-tight and protects against microorganisms.
  3. Aluminum foil, to keep out air and light.
Cream of Mushroom Soup

In Tetra Paks, these materials are alternated to produce a six-layered package, and the only material that touches the food inside the box is the polyethelene. You know I’m not a fan of plastic of any kind, but polyethelene is a “good” plastic–it appears to be non-leaching and nontoxic, and thus is a definite improvement over the BPA and other resins used in canned beans (the exception being canned beans by Eden Organics, as I explained in my other post).

Glass should still be the first choice if you are purchasing packaged products, but boxed beans and soups are a great alternative to their toxic canned counterparts.

Stay sane,

Maia, Founder & CEO

Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff! 

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Leave a Reply

  1. Connie Avatar

    Can foods and soup stocks in tetra packs be canned in glass jars to extend their shelf life? And if yes, what is the correct way to do this? Thanks so much for your assistance!