Is Our Packaging Spoiling Our Food?

We are all aware that the amount of packaging used to protect our food ha dramatically increased over the years. I myself tend to find that preparing one meal often results in my recycling bin being almost entirely filled. This excessive use of food packaging consumes huge amounts of our earth’s resources and there is also a debate that chemicals from the packaging can actually harm us.

Whilst there are those who believe plastic can release harmful toxins into our food, it seems there is more of a growing concern that contamination from packaging is actually ruining the flavour of our food. If your food is left in packaging for too long then it can absorb some of the materials flavour, below or the effects that different materials can have on your food and drink.

One of the most notable effects of plastic flavouring our foods is with water. If you have ever refilled a plastic bottle a few times or drunk from an opened bottle of water that has been lying around for some time then you will definitely pick up on some plastic taste. Why this often occurs is because of the “four enemies of food packaging”, these enemies are light, oxygen, time and heat. All of which can add up to chemicals being released into our food and drink and for the plastic to actually degrade.

There is the belief that if your water tastes like plastic then this can be very harmful to you but research has shown this might not mean that harmful toxins have been released into the product itself. The plastic taste is less of an issue with food, though it can suffer from sweating!

Cardboard and paper packaging is a method of packaging that is said to be all but a joke, as they allow almost any chemicals through to affect the food. For instance, if you were to have soap next to a paper bag filled with food then the chances are that the soap’s volatile compounds would pass over.

If you are getting a metal taste from some of your food it doesn’t necessarily mean you are eating the stuff. Metal is in fact very complex and although you may be getting a metal aroma from food you aren’t actually “eating” metal. It’s like if you were to hold several coins in your hand quite tightly, you will find it gives off a metal aroma from reacting to your hand and sweat. Though it should be noted that metals are a big contributor to affecting flavours in food.

Glass is a wonderful storage solution and is considered to be the safest and best material for preserving flavour. You will never taste a ‘glass-like’ flavour…unless you were to attempt to eat the glass itself. This is often why a lot of people prefer to use used glass jars for storing food than Tupperware, which is quite a good and cost effective idea if you think about it.