Consumer resources to affect chemical exposure from food contact materials

An average consumer can take action to reduce the amount of chemical substances from contact materials by only buying dishes and materials intended to come into contact with food. Food contact materials should also be used according to their instructions. The packaging of food contact materials sold to consumers should state if there are usage restrictions, for example with food properties or the product’s temperature or contact time. Consumers do not always notice this information even though it is extremely important; by following the instructions, the amount of chemical substances from contact materials can be minimised.

Special attention should be paid to preserving very sour or greasy and hot food, because these qualities significantly affect how much substances the food contact materials release into the food. For example, a regular plastic box is not always suitable for the microwave or for preserving hot food. For microwave use, it is always preferable to choose a container with a symbol indicating the product’s suitability for the microwave.

It is always a good idea to be alert and to use dishes with an undamaged surface. Inherited old ceramics and crystal glasses should not be used every day but saved for special occasions. Souvenir dishes that have been sold as decorations should also not be used in contact with food because they often contain a good deal of heavy metals that can dissolve into food.

When a tin can becomes dented, there is a risk of the can’s inner coating breaking, allowing the tin plate to release metals into the food inside. Breakages in coating cannot always be detected properly with the naked eye. The longer it has been since the dent appeared, the more metals can dissolve into the food. Therefore, dented tin cans should be left in the grocery store, since it is impossible to say when the dent appeared. If you dent the can yourself, you can still use the food if you replace the can with another container. The contents of an opened tin can should always be moved to another container to preserve, if all of the food is not used at once. When sour food comes into contact with oxygen after opening, it can dissolve the can’s metals into itself.

Questions and answers about use of food contact materials

Questions and answers about labelling of food contact materials

Page last updated 4/18/2019