How's That Plastic in Your Food Taste?

In a recent eye-opening Consumer Reports article titled "The Plastic Chemicals Hiding in Your Food," CR revealed that 79% of foods tested by CR contained phthalates and bisphenols. My dad emailed me the article and asked, “Is this stuff really in our food?” The answer is yes, and for those of us entrenched in the food manufacturing industry, it’s a call to action to protect end consumers.

The article describes that phthalates and bisphenols, commonly used as plasticizers, are linked to a myriad of health risks such as “insulin resistance, high blood pressure, reproductive issues, early menopause, and other concerns at levels well below the limits set by American and European regulators,” even when exposure occurs at seemingly negligible levels. Although comprehensive policy changes are indispensable to address these issues at their roots, there are immediate steps that both consumers and the food industry can take to mitigate these risks.

As leaders in food safety and quality assurance, here’s how we can spearhead initiatives to ensure a safer food supply chain:

Material Choices Matter:

Encourage the adoption of safer materials, such as glass or steel containers, in food storage and packaging to minimize potential exposure to harmful plasticizers. Additionally, understanding what we use in our facilities can prevent plastic from entering our food, everything from machinery to protective equipment can contain plastics.

Supply Chain Oversight:

Advocate for stringent quality control measures across the supply chain to ensure the sourcing of safe materials and ingredients, thus reducing the risk of contamination. (try Allera’s supplier management platform!) What happens at the supplier level, fertilizer or the pollution of our farms, all affects the end product of food.

Empowering Through Education:

Empower our teams with robust training programs on safe handling and storage practices for food materials to limit exposure to harmful chemicals.

Leveraging Technology for Traceability:

Utilize technological advancements to bolster quality assurance and traceability, enabling better monitoring and control of material safety.

Adherence to Regulations:

Keep abreast of regulatory changes and work in conjunction with regulatory bodies to enforce rigorous measures for safer food manufacturing practices.

Consumer Awareness:

Educate consumers about safer food handling practices and the potential risks associated with specific packaging materials, facilitating informed and healthier choices.

Food safety leaders must ensure the protection of public health. By implementing proactive measures within our manufacturing processes and advocating for safer practices, we collectively contribute to a healthier and safer food supply chain, so we can protect ourselves, our families and loved ones, and all those who eat food :)