Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Phthalates-Now in the Glass Jars

After stop buying canned food because of the Bisphenol A found in can liners, I switched completely on food packed in glass jars – thinking that the glass should be the safest of all but ignoring the fact that the lids may contain chemicals. Now, the new study made by CHOICE - that tested 25 food products in glass jars has found that many are contaminated with plastic softening materials exceeding safety limits set by the European Union. The foods that are vulnerable to contamination have high oil content to soak up chemicals and are liquid enough to slop against the inside of the lid.

They tested 25 food products in glass jars with a total fat content more than 4% (bought from Sydney supermarkets and organic food specialists) that were:
Runny enough for some of the food to slop against the inside of the lid during transport and distribution.
Fatty enough to dissolve plasticiser from the gasket."

They found significant levels of Epoxidised soybean oil (ESBO) and the three phthalates, Di-ethyl-hexyl phthalate (DEHP), Di-iso-octyl phthalate (DIOP), and Di-isononyl phthalate (DINP). This is a summary of the results:
  • Nine of the 25 foods contained ESBO at levels well above the EU limit of 60 ppm — one of them, a pesto sauce with 26% fat, contained 840 ppm.
  • Twelve of the foods contained phthalates at levels above their respective EU limits. One, a tandoori dip imported from India, contained 350 ppm of DEHP — that’s about 230 times the EU limit.
  • Five products contained excessive levels of all four plasticisers. Interestingly, three of them were imported from Italy, a member country of the EU.
  • Three of the foods tested were labeled ‘organic’. While one of them (imported from New Zealand) contained only a trace of ESBO, the other two (from Italy and Turkey) contained excessive levels of all four plasticisers. Biological Farmers of Australia told us PVC isn’t permitted in packaging for organic foods produced in Australia.
Choice did not release the list of products they tested, but they have suggested to avoid food in jars that contains more than 4% fat (or 4 grams of fat per 100 grams of food). It is frustrating, we have to avoid so many things already; soon we will most likely have to avoid everything in order to be fine. The only thing left to do is probably to wait for government and the industry to release standards for chemical safety. I hope it will happen in my lifetime though!

1 comment:

Rylia said...

Why wait? Write to your representatives and demand that they pass these laws. That's the only way things get done that don't involve upping the salaries of the law makers. Let them know we're sick of it.