You may have seen news reports about a commentary published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health alleging that chemicals in food packaging may pose health risks. The commentary makes misleading and dangerous assertions about “neotoxins” in plastic food packaging and the story is now making the rounds on popular media, so we wanted to make sure you heard from us about it.
The bottom line: consumers can and should be confident in the safety of plastic food packaging. Food contact packaging is reviewed for safety by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and this stringent safety review is done before new materials are allowed on the market. Moreover, FDA’s review specifically considers migration before making its safety determination. Unfortunately the paper on which this story is based completely ignores these facts, and instead strings together a series of scary claims about the potential for small amounts of chemicals to migrate from food packaging. This paper is already being rejected by scientists across the globe, as it should be.
There are other issues to bear in mind about this commentary. First, it is based on opinion, not new research or testing. Second, the proposed next steps for epidemiology studies are unlikely to produce causal findings. And, it is worth noting that two of the authors are affiliated with the Food Packaging Forum, which according to its website is solely funded by glass packaging makers. Yet the “competing interests” section of the commentary says nothing about glass. Now that says something.
What is indisputable is that plastic food packaging continues to deliver real benefit to millions of consumers throughout the world. Take, for instance, our recent post about chicken packaging, which demonstrates how plastic packaging prevents food waste by keeping our poultry safe and fresh for longer. In fact, it’s widely known that plastic packaging protects food, not harms it.
The American Chemistry Council has issued a complete statement on this issue. For more information on plastic packaging: https://www.plasticpackagingfacts.org/ and follow us on twitter @PlasticPkgFacts