EnvironmentScientific Reports

Food safety: 3,000 chemicals detected in food packaging

Chemicals in food packaging. How much do we know about food safety?

An international group of scientists examined a wide range of studies on food safety and came to the conclusion that there are more than 3000 potentially hazardous chemicals in food packaging.

The team analysed more than 1,200 scientific studies. The researchers compared data and opinions on the presence of chemicals in a wide variety of products. Many of the analyzed texts warn about the fact that we consume these substances, which have long-term impacts, of which very little is known.

Over 3,000 potentially harmful substances have been found. They are mostly present in products of daily use without us knowing anything or that nobody warns us. We can find these substances in food packaging or other materials related to food anyway. At least two-thirds of these were never known to be in contact with our food.

The study

The report was published on Thursday 19 May by the Food Packaging Forum, a Swiss non-profit organization, in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

The document warns about food safety and the presence of chemicals in a large number of products: not only in food packaging but also, for example, in processing equipment or tableware. Reusable food containers, which are often considered environmentally friendly, also contain potentially dangerous agents.

It is not clear whether manufacturers are aware of the presence of these substances and the potential impacts, but it is certain that these substances, entering the food chain, have entered human bodies.

Further investigation of these substances

There is currently a database of chemicals that affect food and safety, and that come into contact with food or packaging and other related products, and have more than 12,000 items, although at least two-thirds of those now found do not appear.

It is, therefore, to a large extent, a presence of which one is not aware. On the basis of these evaluations, the Food Packaging Forum has developed a database of products in packaging, equipment and food materials.

Many of the products found have in fact not yet been studied, so it is not clear even their impact on human health. It is precisely on this data that the study particularly insists, stressing that, since we were not even aware of their presence, there is an urgent need to deepen the investigation and also address their potential harmfulness.

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