There are still many people who don’t really care about food packaging. Whereas packaging plays an important role in determining whether the food consumed is safe or not, especially processed food. If food is packaged with plastic or materials that contain poison, it is not impossible that the toxin content can contaminate the food and then enter your body. This is because all types of plastic are made from petroleum with a mixture of various toxic chemicals. For example, Bisphenol A (BPA) which causes body disorders such as infertility or decreased fertility, Polystyrene (PS) which is carcinogenic and triggers cancer.
In addition there are also other materials such as PVC (Poly Vinyl Chlorida) which is very harmful to the health of the body. Therefore, when plastic is exposed to high temperatures, the substances contained in the plastic can release various chemicals. BPA will also damage the function of hormones in the body, especially the hormone estrogen, impaired immune system, accelerated puberty, obesity, is a risk factor for diabetes, and hyperactive behavior.
If consumed, the chemical content will then enter the body’s tissues. The factor that causes the easy transfer of these chemicals is due to the weak bonding of the plastic structure, which is the result of residual plastic monomers. The migration of remaining plastic monomers is greater if the packaged food contains high temperatures, such as meatball sauce, fried foods, high-fat foods, or foods that contain high levels of acid. In addition, the transfer of chemicals into food is also affected by the duration of food contact with plastic. So, when food with high temperatures is left in the plastic for too long, the contact with the remaining plastic monomers also increases.
Phthalates, like BPA, can also interfere with hormone function, in this case, the hormone testosterone. In experiments conducted using test animals, certain amounts of phthalates are thought to inhibit the function of testosterone in the body, thereby affecting the male reproductive organs and other organs. High levels of phthalates in the body have even been linked to lower sperm production and quality in adult men. The effect of this component can also be seen in pregnant women. Phthalates increase the risk of minor reproductive organ disorders in boys. Apart from these two materials, you also need to be careful with other materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). In certain amounts, PVC is believed to increase the risk of cancer, birth defects, digestive disorders to impaired liver function.
Wrapping Hot Food Using Plastic Can Trigger Breast Cancer. Quoted from World of Buzz, according to Oriental Daily, the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Taiwan said in 2014, breast cancer is a disease that has the highest number of patients. There are more than 10,000 breast cancer patients in one year alone. Zheng, director of the breast cancer center at Memorial Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Hospital, said Taiwanese generally suffer from breast cancer after menopause or before the age of 40. For those who have had breast cancer before the age of 40, one reason may be the habit of buying hot food to go in plastic bags or thin containers.
The heat from the food in the plastic bag can cause the release of harmful chemicals which are absorbed by the food and consumed by them. One of the chemicals present in plastic and harmful to the body is Bisphenol A (BPA) with a weak synthetic estrogen which can interfere with the body’s hormones and make breast cancer cells develop and grow at certain levels of exposure. In the West, breast cancer usually occurs after menopause but in Taiwan, women aged under 35 years, about 6-9 percent are breast cancer patients. Based on the explanation described above, that’s why it’s very important to minimize the use of plastic in everyday life. Here’s a way that you can apply at You’ house:
ALWAYS LOOK AT THE LABEL SIGNS ON THE PLASTIC
Avoid using plastic containers labeled with numbers 3, 6 and 7. Number 3 indicates PVC material which stimulates the growth of cancer cells (carcinogens). Code or number 3 releases poison in food and drink. The risk will be higher if the packaging is washed, heated, or cooled. While the number 6 is plastic packaging made from PS, or commonly known as styrofoam. This packaging will release poison when heated. Third Plastic packaging numbered 7 (Other). Found in baby bottles, drinking water bottles and other packaging. Number 7 contains Bisphenol A. This substance has an effect on changes in nerve performance and behavior, as well as puberty that occurs earlier. Also understand the contents of the following other types of plastic, You:
- Type 1: Polyethylene teraphthalate (PET): These plastic containers are usually marked with the symbol PET, which means they can only be used once. Although it does not contain BPA or phthalates, this type contains antimony which may be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) in humans. This type of plastic container is usually found in juice bottles or jam jars.
- Type 2: High-density polyethylene (HDPE) These plastic containers, usually given the symbol HDPE, are safe and contain high-density polyethylene which makes for a relatively stiff plastic. This type of plastic container is usually found in milk bottles.
- Type 3: Polyvinyl chloride (V) These plastic containers, usually marked with the symbol V, contain phthalates. Usually found in fruit juice bottles, cooking oil bottles and food packaging that looks clear, flexible and relatively stiff.
- Type 4: Low density polyethylene (LDPE) These plastic containers are usually marked with the symbol LDPE and are commonly found on food or seasoning containers that are easy to squeeze and resistant to solvents.
- Type 5: Polypropylene (PP) These plastic containers are usually given the symbol PP and are commonly found on yogurt, beverage bottles, and ketchup containers because polypropylene does not leach its chemicals into food or liquids.
- Type 7: Polycarbonate (PC) This plastic container is usually marked with the symbol PC or Other and is found in gallon bottles of water. This plastic container contains BPA, avoid using this container repeatedly You.
KNOW SAFE PLASTIC PACKAGING
Factors that affect the amount of migration from packaging to food include the concentration of migrants; bond strength or mobility of chemicals in the packaging; packaging thickness; the nature of the food in contact with the packaging (dry, watery, fatty, sour, alcoholic); solubility of chemicals in food; contact time and temperature. Several types of plastic that are relatively safe to use as food packaging are PP, HDPE, LDPE, and PET. Packaging security can be recognized by the logo or writing on it, for example, the words ‘safe for food’ or for food use or food grade. In general, plastic packaging should not be used for food that is acidic, contains fat or oil, especially when it is hot. (Ir Ingrid S Surono, MSc, PhD).
CHANGE PLASTIC AND OTHER MATERIALS
When buying food from somewhere, it’s best to bring your own glass or metal container. Especially for soup or soup, use a basket. If using plastic containers, you should avoid those that contain hazardous materials such as BPA. Apart from reducing plastic waste, this is also useful for avoiding the dangers of using plastic in hot food. If not, make sure that the plastic packaging used by the restaurant is heat-resistant and safe for food use. Also pay attention to the expiration date of the food and do not consume it if the expiration date has passed the limit, as well as if there are irregularities in taste or aroma and appearance in food or drink even though the expiration date has not been passed. If you want to heat food in a microwave oven, use solid containers. If you want to choose flexible (flexible) plastic for food cover, choose one that says polyethylene on the label. Containers or packages for cold food or drinks, for example for ice cream, and the like, should not be used for hot food or drinks. Because these plastic containers are only suitable for cold (low temperature) food and drinks. Also, do not heat food, for example steaming vegetables, using a plastic container in You.
HEAT FOOD PROPERLY
Avoid covering food with plastic made of PVC or PS when heating in the microwave, use a type of food grade packaging specifically used for microwave ovens. Instead, you can use a paper towel. You are also advised not to store fatty foods in plastic containers. Transfer food onto a glass plate before reheating. Besides plastic, be careful about melamine as a type of resin—which is a type of hard plastic that is usually used to make bowls, plates, glasses and cutlery for children. Melamine is indeed a substance that is toxic to the human body, especially to the kidneys. Do you still remember the case of powdered milk in China which was mixed with melamine to increase the “protein” content in the milk? The case claimed the lives of 6 babies and 50 thousand other babies had to be hospitalized. If melamine containers are used to heat food with a microwave, it is feared that the melamine components can come out and contaminate the food that you will eat, You. Avoid heating these foods in the Microwave:
- Potatoes: Can cause poisoning if heated in the microwave and left at room temperature, because it will grow the botulism bacteria that causes botulism.
- Chicken: After cooking the chicken to perfection, it’s actually fine to reheat the chicken in the microwave. But it is not recommended to cook chicken in the microwave, because it will only cook on the outside, the inside is not guaranteed to be perfectly cooked. Chicken that is not perfectly cooked can harbor bacteria, such as salmonella bacteria.
- Rice: According to the Food Standards Agency, reheating rice can cause food poisoning, due to the presence of a rogue bacteria called Bacillus cereus. Heat can kill these bacteria, but it can leave spores that are toxic to the body. What’s worse, these spores are heat resistant, aka they can’t be killed even if they’ve been heated in a microwave
- Mushrooms: A type of vegetable that should not be heated, because it can cause stomach upset. Bacteria can also grow if left at room temperature. So mushrooms should be eaten immediately after serving You.
- Greasy Foods: All oils can withstand various levels of heat. But if the heat level continues to increase, toxins and harmful substances called free radicals can form. According to Live Strong, these free radicals can trigger cancer. So avoid heating greasy food in the microwave, because the oil can get too hot and form free radicals.
- Green Vegetables If you want to warm celery, kale, or spinach, it’s best to warm it on a normal stove, not the microwave. When green vegetables are heated in the microwave, natural nitrates will turn into nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic and very harmful to the body.
AVOID PLASTIC WRAPPED FOOD CONSUMPTION
Now you can find many food vendors using plastic as a wrapper, such as lontong which no longer uses banana leaves or coconut leaves. Even though the majority of circulating plastics are not safe for wrapping hot food, let alone used for cooking or processing food. Moreover, using plastic to cook food such as rice cake, where the boiling process uses high temperatures. The plastic used to wrap high-temperature or oily food can contaminate food with dioxins and toxic substances from the addictive ingredients that form plastic.
Plastic lon also contains polymer chemicals. This polymer can enter the human body because it is soluble, so if it accumulates in the body it will cause cancer. Apart from cancer, the polymer content in lontong wrapped in plastic can potentially reduce reproductive fertility, and can even cause infertility. Also be careful with food wrapped in plastic, according to health experts, if the plastic is exposed to high temperatures, then it is feared that there will be compounds that decompose and eventually mix in the vegetables or side dishes that we buy. The problem is, often the plastic material used to wrap food is not of the food grade type, but ordinary plastic which may contain dangerous chemical compounds such as phthalate, bisphenol A (BPA), and adipate.
In a study, it was stated that the chemicals in plastic could actually trigger damage to various internal organs such as the liver, kidneys, lungs, or even the body’s reproductive system. Meanwhile, the phthalate content is said to be able to make men experience infertility disorders. Anyone is vulnerable to the adverse effects of exposure to the chemicals in this plastic, it’s just that, for children and pregnant women, the impact will be much more pronounced. Seeing this fact, it would be better if we ask food vendors to wrap cooked vegetables or side dishes with food wrapping paper or we can bring our own food containers which are classified as food grade or safe to use.
BRING YOUR OWN CONTAINER
Basically there are only two types of plastic that are safe for use in cooking food, namely polypropylene (PP) which is resistant to high temperatures up to 150°C, and nylon or polyamide (PA) type plastic which is resistant to high temperatures and is good for packaging materials. cooked in packs. On average, plastic is not safe to use as food wrapper, nor can it be used haphazardly for food, especially those that are oily and have hot temperatures.