debate over packaging heating up : safety: the fda is concerned that some chemicals from food containers may enter the food during cooking. - polyethylene terephthalate
A federal report says some microwave packages can break up when exposed to high-temperature cooking, causing potentially harmful chemicals to enter food.
Those containers that are most likely to cause problems are called thermal sensitive containers designed to increase temperature-
About 500 degrees Fahrenheit. --
In the microwave process
According to the United States, this package is used for traditional microwave products such as popcorn, pizza, fries, fish strips and Belgian wafflesS.
Food and Drug Administration
Usually, suscep persons are sold as "browning" or "crunching" devices.
The microwave will not make the food Brown. -
Like a traditional oven ---
These items are not in the package.
The agency's focus also extends to plastic "double ovenables", or those containers that are ready to be used in traditional ovens or microwave ovens.
"The FDA is concerned about this. . . . that such high-
The temperature use of these materials may lead to packaging parts such as adhesives, polymers, paper and cardboard--
Called indirect Food additive-
A recent report from the consumer magazine of the Food and Drug Administration said: "excessive migration into food . ".
The agency found that at least two compounds were migrated directly from microwave packaging to food.
In September 1989, in the test of microwave fried potatoes, federal researchers found that there were trace amounts of polybendiester in addition to diethylene glycol dibenzic acid salt.
Since 1987, the agency has requested voluntary research from the packaging and food industries, indicating that the partial dissolution of these materials and the subsequent migration of chemicals to food is safe.
Information on this has not yet been obtained.
As a result, the FDA stepped up its efforts and issued a notice last year setting a deadline for manufacturers to submit data.
FDA must approve all additives-
Direct or indirect-
Can be eaten in processed foods.
Even unexpected results, such as the extraction of chemicals from microwave packaging, must be approved by the agency.
However, in the report on this issue, the FDA has made unusual concessions.
It said the agency had not yet "prepared" for the introduction of these packaging innovations and was surprised to learn that the devices could increase the temperature of the microwave oven to 500 degrees.
Now, the agency acknowledges that it is "trying to keep up with" the technology and is in a position where it is necessary to trace the safety of the processing technology that has been in use for many years.
Sales of microwave
According to FDA data, packaged food is expected to reach $3 billion by 1992.
During the preliminary test, researchers at the agency found that these thermal sensitive pads reached such a high temperature that they would actually burn and cause a fire. "The food-
The contact surface of the thermal sensitive element packaging is usually a metallized polyethylene Diester film laminated on the board with an adhesive.
This metal film absorbs the microwave energy in the oven, and with the absorption of most microwaves, the packaging becomes a little "Frying Pan" and actively participates in cooking, "according to the FDA's description of the problem.
Although the FDA approved some of these compounds for food packaging as early as 1958, the approval was based on an oven temperature of only 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rather than the high level of product creation today.
In fact, double ovenables is also a concern because consumers usually heat the container at a temperature of 350 to 400 degrees in a traditional oven, which may lead to the disintegration of the packaging part.
The FDA has stated that research so far has not indicated any public health issues with heat-sensitive or dual ovenables.
The agency also claims that this package accounts for only a fraction of the total number of microwave packaging categories.
Nevertheless, the federal government has issued a series of consumer protection guidelines. They are:--
Do not exceed the microwave time suggested in the packing instructions. --
Do not eat the product if the package (such as a flower bag) becomes very Brown or burnt. --
Watch the microwave carefully when microwave popcorn, because heat accumulation can cause fire.
Accurate heating time according to label instructions.
Shorter cooking time is recommended (
Some ovens can bake popcorn in two minutes). --
Do not reuse thermal sensitive elements and do not use them for purposes other than the manufacturer originally intended.
Handle these packages with great care as they can be very hot for touch. --
Avoid having plastic wrap in contact with the food during the microwave process, because the plastic will melt, causing the compound called the plasticizer to enter the food. --
Do not heat the food in brown grocery bags or newspapers, as they all contain recycled materials and metals that may cause fire.