Food contact materials (FCMs) are usually made of plastic or contain a synthetic material that is in direct contact with foods. This includes coating, laminate in beverage cartons or the closures of glass jars. Whereas the science for some of these substances is being debated and policy makers struggle to satisfy the needs of stakeholders, consumers remain exposed to these chemicals daily, mostly unknowingly.
The synthetic chemicals used in the packaging, storage, and processing of foodstuffs might be harmful to human health over the long term, warn environmental scientists in a commentary in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
This is because most of these substances are not inert and can leach into the foods we eat, they say.
Despite the fact that some of these chemicals are regulated, people who eat packaged or processed foods are likely to be chronically exposed to low levels of these substances throughout their lives, say the authors.
And far too little is known about their long term impact, including at crucial stages of human development, such as in the womb, which is “surely not justified on scientific grounds,” the authors claim.
They point out that lifelong exposure to food contact materials or FCMs — substances used in packaging, storage, processing, or preparation equipment — “is …