Plastic Containers and Food Safety

            A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  has outlined some simple ways families can limit exposure to chemicals used to process, package and preserve everyday foods. For years there has been concern about some of these chemicals, this report gives recommendations based on solid scientific research.

            The additives of most concern, based on rising research evidence cited in the report, include:

  • Bisphenols,

  • Phthalates

  • Perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs)

  • Perchlorate

  • Artificial food colors

  • Nitrates/nitrites

            In addition to new legislature to regulate plastic, additives, and chemicals,  the AAP recommends safe and simple steps families can take to limit exposures to the chemicals of greatest concern. These include:

  • Buy and serve more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables (as opposed to canned), and fewer processed meats--especially during pregnancy.  

  • Since heat can cause plastics to leak BPA and phthalates into food, avoid microwaving food or beverages (including infant formula and pumped human milk) in plastic when possible. Also try to avoid putting plastics in the dishwasher.

  • Use alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible. Consider going "old school" and wrap sandwiches in wax papaer.

  • Avoid plastics with recycling codes 3 (phthalates), 6 (styrene), and 7 (bisphenols) unless they are labeled as “biobased” or “greenware.” Recycling codes can be found on the bottom of a plastic container.

  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after touching food and clean all fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled.

            At Pediatric Associates of Wellesley, we know that feeding your children is one of them most basic - and at times stressful - jobs as a parent. These guidelines should not add to any stress. As always, offer your kids food you would like them to eat, not food you think they will eat. This helps avoid food ruts and battles. Please reach out to your doctor if you have questions about any feeding issues. Happy cooking and parenting!