• Pavithra Krishna Prasad

4 Food Grade Plastics that you must know

Updated: Apr 21

What do you know about the Food Grade Plastics? How do you identify the Food Grade plastics? How harmful are these plastics? Is cling wrap a food-grade plastic? How useful and completely safe are these plastics?

Well, for each of the above queries, the following post will help you clear all the doubts.

Firstly, one must know the different plastics and their numbers available in the market that we use for food packaging and other purposes.

Food Grade Plastics (FGP) is those plastics that are safe to pack food and drinks. They should not leach (BPA) chemicals upon cooking and storage, which is chemically hazardous to health and other aspects. The numbers mentioned above in a triangle symbol are all the main types of plastics available. Of these, the below picture will show the Food Grade plastics.

FGP’s can be identified by the “wine glass and fork” symbol, which indicates that the particular plastic is safe for cooking and storage of food and drinks. More natural way to identify the type of plastic is to locate these signs underneath your plastic and identify the brand. For example:-

#7 Plastics marked as “Other.” The next time you use a plastic product, flip it over and check the bottom. If you see #7 in the centre of a three arrowed triangle, you have no way of knowing if the plastic is reusable or recyclable. “Other” plastics constitute a world of waste that ends up in landfills due to the lack of processing centres and no accountability from Brands that make these plastics. These range from, mosquito repellent refills, toothpaste tubes, DVD cases, straws, toys, cosmetics including body sprays, shampoos, multi-layer packaging and much more. Apart from these, wastes like medicine strips, used beverages, carton, slippers, and helmets also play a massive part of the problem.

Are cling wraps food-grade plastics?

Cling wraps are not Food grade. They cannot come in direct contact with the food, and hence they are always to be used for covering containers and other purposes.

Chemical leaching of Plastics

Plastics contain various harmful chemicals in them that find their way in our body by a process called Leaching. Transfer of chemicals of food and beverages through cans and containers, food packaging, disposable plastics, non-food grade plastics. For example, notice the colour of the PET plastic bottle when used more than two times. You can see a smoky-white appearance on the vinyl, which is nothing but the initial stages of chemical leaching. Hence, PET bottles are always to be discarded immediately after usage. The amount of transfer of these chemicals increases with a high heat process. Try to avoid using plastic ware for cooking and heating purpose. There are right plastics as well, and we need to be careful in choosing the type of plastics we use. For a better alternative, we can use Bio-plastics, which is made from organic materials and are absent from the harmful chemicals found in the plastics.

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