Food Packaging Materials : Health and Environment

Nwosu Jane C. U.,  &  Ebujor Gloria C.

Food packaging is just one among the ways of food preservation which helps in the extension of the shelf-life of the food product and easy for shipment and marketing. The goal of food packaging is to contain food in a cost-effective way that satisfies industry requirements and consumer desires, maintain food safety, and minimizes environmental impact. Different food Packaging materials such as metals, steel, aluminum, plastic, glass, polyethylene, polypropylene, paper, paperboard, laminates, metalized films, plant leaves etc. play major roles in terms of protection and preservation which include chemical, physical and biological
protection, containment and food waste reduction, convenience, marketing and information, traceability, tamper indication. The chemicals used in the production of these food packaging materials includes but not limited to intentionally added ingredients (ortho-phthalates. perchlorate, per-and poly-fluorinated alkyl
substances, benzophenone, ethyl and methyl-glycol, toluene, n-methyl-pyrrolidone, bisphenol A,F,S) and non intentionally added materials which is not limited to contaminants like- heavy metals(lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury etc) leached into food and is being consumed into the body unknown to us thereby causing a lot of negative effect on human health via endocrine disruption, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancers, tooth development defects, hormonal imbalance which results in reproductive disorder in men and women, decrease semen quality in men, endometriosis in women etc. These food
packaging materials affect our environment which also result to littering the environment, causing health effect and pollution. In order to reduce these effects, the use of these chemicals should be reduced or totally removed.

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