Food Contamination from Processing and Packaging a Major Toxic Exposure

When you’re shopping at the grocery store, do you avoid certain foods because they contain harmful ingredients (e.g. high fructose corn syrup or GMOs)? Do you also consider the safety of the food’s processing and packaging? On Monday, July 23rd, The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement saying you should.

Peer reviewed studies reveal that dietary contamination from food processing and packaging is a major source of toxic exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals like BPA and phthalates, and preservatives like nitrates and nitrites, which are linked to cancer.

Parents must demand that food manufacturers stop using harmful plastics like PVC to produce and package foods. The factory tubing that hot soup and sauces drip down are flexible thanks to phthalates, which is a problem because heat releases this hormone disrupting chemical into the tube contents. Similarly, cans lined with BPA leach synthetic estrogen into your canned tomatoes.  “BPA free” cans should be viewed with caution because unless the manufacturer explains what substance took its place, we can’t assume the new lining is safe. Even some glass bottles have tested positive for BPA in the bottle top.

Recognizing not everyone can grow and cook their own food, I recommend you eat at home, skip the cans and cling wrap, and choose unprocessed organic ingredients when possible. I used to think tomatoes and soups in Tetra packs (which look like juice boxes) were safe, but now I’m worried they might be processed in a compromising way. There is hope that Monday’s announcement will change the course of food safety, but in the mean time, do your part and voice your concerns to your favorite food manufacturers.  Or better yet, vote with your dollars for the companies that proudly commit to safe food processing and packaging.

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