Food safety is one of the biggest concerns facing today’s consumer. And the safety of our food is not only the food itself (chemical pesticides, food additives, genetic engineering, lethal bacteria)–it’s also the packaging.
The invention of commercial plastic over 100 years ago developed into an industry that revolutionized food packaging and food storage. Recently plastic has been targeted as a hormone-disruptor and the cause of sexual malformation in infants and chronic immuno-suppressive syndromes.
Concerned consumers are responding in panic. They’re opting for everything glass, repackaging plastic-wrapped food and throwing out those convenient plastic refrigerator containers.
But glass is not always the best choice. For one thing, clear glass lets in damaging light. It causes photo-oxidation in food, leading to the breakdown of essential fatty acids. It also changes food molecules. Your jars of home preserves, for instance, should always be stored in a cool, dark place. So when you store food or herbs in glass jars, go for brown glass to retain food integrity.
And plastics are not all bad. High density black polyethylene is a food-grade plastic that blocks out all light, including UV energy which can be particularly harmful to edible food oils. And black polyethylene does not contain harmful chemicals such as octyphenols, nonylphenols or akylphenol ethoxylates. It is also recyclable, with the inernationally-recognized recycling code #2 on the bottom of containers.
Consumers need to arm themselves with knowledge in order to steer their way safely through today’s food industry. It’s not as easy as it was in grandma’s day. Go back to the manufacturers when you have a question. Ask them for food safety data and then ask them to back that data up. Quality control is a major issue in growing, manufacturing and processing the food that goes on your table.