It is almost impossible to imagine life without food packaging that includes plastic cling films, a host of plastic jars, tubs, tubes, bags, and boxes. In 2014 about 6000 different substances were approved by government agencies that are fit for human health if used in food packaging. The adverse effect of all these substances on the food and the environment has raised a lot of questions.
A study published in July 2013 shows that at least 175 types of chemicals found in food packaging are of great concern for the government agencies for their potential harm to the consumers.
Another study published in December 2013 suggests that 50 percent of packaging material that comes in contact with the food lacked toxicology information that is on record of the database of US Food and Drug Administration. The database of FDA itself is void of the toxicology information of such substances, and they still are being heavily used in the packaging industry.
Many packaging materials are classified as “Indirect food additives” and fall under the jurisdiction of food, drug and cosmetics act in the United States law. These substances include not only the polymers that make up plastics but also resins and pigments, adhesives, biocides, coatings used in can linings and jar lids, etc.
The FDA system of approving packaging materials that come in contact with the food is based on the information that a company submits. FDA can question the company and review its research literature, but FDA has no way of assessing the food packaging through lab testing of how much chemicals can be leaked into the food from the packaging and other such metrics. It shows that FDA has problems with its approval system which jeopardizes the health and maybe even life of many consumers in the US and abroad.