Ecologist urges restaurant operators not to package hot foods with plastics

An ecologist, Mr David Michael, has urged restaurateurs not to package hot foods with plastics to prevent chemicals from getting into the foods.

Michael, the Executive Director, Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP) gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.

“Plastics are gotten from crude oil; just like your petrol, diesel and engine oil.

“When plastic are heated, they release chemicals and these chemicals get into the food that the plastics are used to cook like the beans pudding, moi-moi for example,’’ he said.

According to him, most of these plastics contain a chemical known as Bisphenol A “BPA’’.

“Although, in advanced countries, there are BPA-free plastics being widely used because of the dangers of ordinary plastics.

“But in developing countries, people use ordinary plastics to package moi-moi because BPA-free plastic is not cheap and you cannot buy your moi-moi for N200 and expect it to be in a BPA free plastic.

“When you heat plastic as with any stable chemical composition; it becomes unstable and releases these chemicals,’’ the executive director said.

He said that the public should be aware not to heat any plastic container with food in it through packaging, or micro waving staled foods.

“It is known that infinitesimal bits of plastic get into our food from containers. The process is called “leaching” or “migration”.

“The chemical industry acknowledges that you can’t avoid this transfer. Virtually all food packaging materials contain substances that can migrate into the food they contact.

“Migration also increases when plastic touches fatty, salty, or acidic foods,’’ he said.

By Deji Abdulwahab