by Marion Nestle
Jul 15 2014

Food packaging materials contain a lot of iffy chemicals

Authors employed by the Food Packaging Forum Foundation, funded by the packaging industry but working “independently of donors’ special interests,” have produced a surprising analysis of chemical in food packaging that comes into contact with food during production, handling or storage.

Why surprising?  Because the results are indeed against donors’ special interests.

Such chemicals, the authors say, can contaminate food through migration from the packaging.  About 6000 such substances exist, some of which are associated with disease.  These are Chemicals of Concern (COCs).

This study identified chemicals used in packaging that are considered to be COCs.  It found 175 such chemicals in use.  Of these, 54 are “candidates for Substances of Very High Concern.”

From a consumer perspective, it is certainly unexpected and undesirable to find COCs [chemicals of concern] being intentionally used in FCMs [food contact materials], and thus it seems appropriate to replace substances case by case with inherently safer alternatives.

This comes from people in the industry.  I hope makers of packing materials—and food safety regulators—pay close attention.


[…] Source: Food packaging materials contain a lot of iffy chemicals […]

[…] Source: Food packaging materials contain a lot of iffy chemicals […]

[…] Source: Food packaging materials contain a lot of iffy chemicals […]

  • maxasaurusBax
  • July 15, 2014
  • 12:37 pm

This reminded me of an earlier post regarding the manufacturing of artisanal cheese and the FDA. This time though, the problems are opposing: Food safety (re:microbiology) vs. Food safety (re:chemical contaminates). Food manufacturers cannot use “natural” materials (such as wood) due to the potential of pathogenic contaminants, but alternatively hygienic, synthetic plastics (BPA?) introduce chemical contamination of which we have yet to realize the full effect. Thinking out loud.

  • TR
  • July 16, 2014
  • 8:57 am

It is silly isnt it? The phrase “choose your poison” comes to mind. Personally, I’d rather risk potential pathogenic contaminants. All the packaging in the world doesnt do a consumer any good if their own kitchen and food handling practices are the source of pathogenic contaminants.

  • Genie Maybanks
  • July 16, 2014
  • 2:41 pm

Pretty good argument for eating as ‘close-to-the-ground’ as possible. Cook from scratch.

[…] Three members of Congress (Markey, D-MA; Capps, D-CA; and Meng, D-NY) seeking to ban BPA in food packaging have published an op-ed in Roll Call on the “dangers of BPA.” The FDA banned BPA “from baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula packaging in 2012.”Their proposed Ban Poisonous Additives Act “would deem food to be adulterated if its container is made with BPA or can release BPA into food. The bill also requires FDA to examine the effects of BPA on the workers who may be disproportionately exposed to BPA during the manufacturing process.” More on chemicals used in food packaging from Marion Nestle. […]

[…] Food packaging materials contain a lot of iffy chemicals. Yikes. […]

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