Nowadays, we’re much more focused on the safety of our food—but what about the products that inevitably touch our food? We might not think as much about Tupperware, utensils, and the like, but these plastic products are also things we should consider when talking about food safety. Companies make these products as safe as possible for your use; here’s some information on the food industry products made out of food-grade safe plastics.
The bottom line is that all plastics in the food industry are safe to use. A food-grade plastic is appropriate for use with consumables—that is, food and drink. However, the truth is that food industry products made out of food-grade safe plastics will vary greatly in their specific usage. That’s why the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) works tirelessly to ensure you can use the most optimal plastics with your food. But what does safe mean?
The FDA’s primary concern is ensuring the plastic doesn’t leach chemicals into the food. Many things can affect leaching—heat, sanitizing, and food. That’s why plastic products must meet certain standards for use with certain foods. Once a plastic product is FDA compliant, it is safe for use.
Varieties of Plastics
You’ve likely seen plastics of all kinds, and there’s a reason for this: different types of plastic materials are FDA compliant for specific types of foods. For example, polyetheretherketone, otherwise known as PEEK, is a strong thermoplastic that’s safe to use in a dishwasher or microwave due to its high melting point. That’s why things such as coffee nozzles are made with PEEK—it ensures that no melted plastic drips into your morning cup of joe.
Know Your Plastics
When you purchase any food or liquid product, how can you ensure you choose something that’s packaged in a food-safe container? As we stated, the FDA has approved several compliant plastics, so every plastic you see on the market is safe for its specific use. However, if you like to stay informed, learning the symbols on your plastic products may be a good idea, as they indicate the types of chemicals used in the products.