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12 Tips to Reduce Food Contamination from Packaging

12 Tips to Reduce Food Contamination from Packaging

Dioxin in paper and chemicals in plastics can migrate into food. For example, everyone knows the taste of plastic found in plastic-bottled water that has been left in the sun. One should go to extremes to eliminate the circumstances that can cause such migrations of chemicals into food because some plastics can disrupt hormones. The following guidelines should help give you ideas of how to avoid food contamination from packaging.

12 Ways to Avoid Packaging Toxins

1. Plastic tends to migrate into fatty foods, especially hot fatty foods. Don’t leave cheese wrapped in its plastic wrapper sitting in the sun! Cool leftovers before placing in plastic storage containers.

2. Plastic wrap should never come into direct contact with fatty food in the microwave. It is also important not to use leftover margarine or yogurt tubs in the microwave. Use ceramic or glass cookware instead.

3. Microwavable packages should be avoided. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) migrates from the packaging into the food, as do the adhesive components (and their degraded products) of the package.

4. A 1988 FDA study of microwavable packaging components, called heat susceptors, showed that low levels of the carcinogen benzene could migrate into food when heated.

5. Skip the boil-in-a-plastic bag foods, as well as sous vide foods–foods that are vacuum packed.

6. When you can, replace plastic cups and other eating utensils that come into contact with hot fatty foods with glass or metal. For example, instead of buying a plastic thermos, consider a metal one.

7. As much as possible, avoid food, water, and other beverages sold in plastic containers and bottles. For example, try to buy water from distributors who can deliver large glass jugs in convenient dispensers.

8. Package components can migrate into wet food, especially if the food contains alcohol, acid, or fat.

9. Use substitutes for bleached paper products that can come in contact with food, such as gold coffee filters and glass bottles.

10. Avoid packaging with antioxidant preservatives such as BHT, an additive with a questionable safety record.

11. Avoid buying imported food in cans sealed by soldering the soldering may contain lead. Lead-soldered cans are bumpy feeling under the seam, as opposed to seamless or welded cans.

12. Many cans have plastic coatings that line the inside of the can out of concern that the metal might contaminate the food. Eighty-five percent of the cans sold in the United States have such linings, and the plastic coating leaches substances into the food, which can disrupt the hormonal system, according too Our Stolen Future. When you buy the cans there is no way to tell which cans are lined with plastic and which aren’t.

Read more: Health, Natural Remedies

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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Practical Advice, References, and Sources for Transforming the Center of Your Home into a Healthful, Livable Place, by Annie Berthold-Bond with Mothers & Others for a Livable Planetbuy now


+ add your own
8:38AM PDT on Mar 30, 2013

It's a wonder any of us are still here, with all the things that are found to be bad for us nowadays.

11:56AM PST on Mar 9, 2013

FDA should get more seriously about protecting us. Well, if Republicans in congress allowed them to. You guys can think I'm crazy, but I read a lot about politics, and years ago, Congress made clear that the FDA should go easy on regulations. So, the department don't even bother (many times) to try to do what is in fact their job. It would be amazing if all of us, who cares about our health, make sure to vote for representatives who cares about it too. Instead to protect business, they have to protect us. And don't give me this talk that this is not good for the economy. Please!

11:07AM PST on Jan 16, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

9:46AM PST on Dec 4, 2012

Vintage glass containers work great for leftovers, pick them up where collectibles are sold.

Would like to see cheese sold in something other than oil based plastic wrappers. Would like to see yogurt packaged in #1 or #2 plastic, most all brands use #5. Anything wrapped in saran wrap, I do not buy anymore.

Anything from a deli in #5 plastic, I take out and transfer to a glass container.

Thank you.

11:26AM PDT on Sep 16, 2012


7:38AM PST on Mar 4, 2012


12:19AM PST on Feb 27, 2012

thanks for the article

3:46AM PST on Dec 17, 2011

Thanks for the tips.

2:54AM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

Correction, especially Annie B Bond rather...

1:43AM PDT on Sep 17, 2011

So much to avoid!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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