The Role of Food Packaging in Physical Contamination

Food needs to be packaged to ensure that the food you purchase is in the same condition as when it was packed. That’s important as bacteria can easily attach itself to food, when you consume the food with the bacteria you can become ill. That’s why food packaging and handling rules exist, to ensure the food you receive is safe to eat.

Of course, the biggest risk is uncooked meats as they naturally carry bacteria, enveloping them in packaging should help to prevent them from contaminating other products.

However, there are also times when the food packaging can actually contribute to the issue. That’s why, if you’re packaging food, you need to use the services of a reputable firm specializing in food packaging Sydney.

Poor Storage Conditions

Food should always be stored according to its nature. For example, uncooked meat needs to be kept cool or frozen. However, if it is stored incorrectly and becomes warm then this can encourage the bacteria already present to multiply.

This may not be an issue although it will turn the meat off quicker. But, if the bacteria are more abundant than usual and are on the inside of the packaging, it will be easier for you to pick them up on your hands. If you then come into contact with cooked foods, before you’ve washed your hands properly, then you’ve got cross-contamination.

Of course, correct washing procedures should help to avoid this, but even something as simple as opening the meat packaging and the packaging touching another item can help bacteria to spread.

The Container

While most people are aware of the dangers of cross-contamination through poor hygiene, you may not realize that the container your food comes in can also be an issue.

Plastic trays and boxes contain a plasticizer that improves the flexibility of the packaging. This is important as it decreases the chances of a container splitting if it’s dropped.

However, the plasticizers are often made by adding Butyl Benzyl Phthalate (BBP) to the plastic product. Unfortunately, it is possible for these materials in the plastic to leach into your food. Especially if the food is stored for an extended period of time or stored incorrectly.

Consumption of BBP has been shown to increase the risk of contracting a variety of diseases, including cancer.

The good news is that manufacturers are slowly moving away from this option, you should check what type of plastic is used before you purchase your food.

It’s also worth noting that different containers can actually affect the flavor of the food, this isn’t a life-threatening issue but it may affect your enjoyment of your food.

The Role of Food Packaging in Physical Contamination

Plastics As A Barrier

Surprisingly plastic is not a 100% effective barrier to bacteria, because it interacts with the food and van leave residual traces of bacteria on the wrapping. The same is true when you package food at home, residual bacteria on your hands may transfer to the plastic and contaminate the food after you’ve wrapped it and put it away.

Vigilance is essential when using food packaging materials.

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