U.S – In a recent investigation conducted by Consumer Reports, the disturbing reality of toxic plasticizers in daily diet has been laid bare.

The study, encompassing 85 products from supermarkets and fast-food restaurants, has unveiled the widespread presence of phthalates, notorious for their detrimental impact on human health.

Phthalates, commonly found in plastics and food packaging, have been detected in nearly every food item tested, often at alarming levels.

The shocking revelation points to a potential health crisis, as these chemicals are linked to a myriad of adverse effects, including disruption of the endocrine system, tumor growth, abnormal reproductive function, neurological harm, and immune issues.

The study also brings a glimmer of positive news – a notable reduction in the levels of bisphenol A (BPA) and other bisphenols compared to 2009. Despite this improvement, these harmful chemicals persist in the U.S. food supply, posing long-term health risks.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) declared BPA exposure a health concern in April 2023, prompting a significant reduction in the tolerable daily intake.

A similar move was made by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2022, revoking the authorization for the use of 23 phthalates and two other substances in food contact materials.

Plastics and plasticizers, it seems, not only infiltrate our meals through packaging but also through environmental contamination.

The Australian National Science Agency’s warning in May 2023 highlighted how oceanic micro- and nanoplastics are contaminating seafood, further emphasizing the urgency of addressing this global food safety issue.

Consumer Reports tested a variety of products, from baked goods to seafood, encompassing different packaging types.

Shockingly, organic foods showed no respite from high phthalate levels, with the highest concentration found in an unexpected source – Annie’s Organic cheesy ravioli.

Among the standout findings were exceptionally high phthalate levels in popular products like Del Monte sliced peaches, Chicken of the Sea pink salmon, Fairlife Core Power chocolate milkshakes, and fast-food items from Wendy’s, Chipotle, and Burger King.

Interestingly, Pizza Hut’s Original Cheese Pan Pizza displayed significantly lower phthalate levels than its counterparts.

Bisphenols, although still prevalent in 79 percent of samples, exhibited a remarkable reduction in levels compared to 15 years ago. This suggests that efforts to curb the use of harmful chemicals in food contact materials have had some success, albeit more is needed.

For all the latest food safety news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.