New data from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) shows there are no food safety risks with the use of everyday food packaging materials such as plastic and paper.
A recent MPI study on New Zealand foods looked at the transfer of chemicals from a range of food packaging types onto foods and whether or not this had a risk to public health.
MPI Acting Manager Food Risk Assessment, Dr. Andrew Pearson, says they sampled 74 various packaged and takeaway foods and tested them to see if any traces of chemicals from the packaging had transferred to the food.
“We then looked at the data and carried out a thorough risk assessment. As a result, we have found that while there were occasional cases where chemicals from food packaging materials transferred onto food, this occurred at low levels and there are no food safety risks for consumers,” he says.
“Consumers are increasingly wanting to know more about what’s in their food, so studies like this help provide consumers with assurance that what they’re eating is safe.
“As the regulator for food safety, a key part of our role is to continuously monitor and test for potential hazards in foods and assess whether or not there is any health risks to consumers.
“We will continue to monitor any potential risks in this area and ensure that our approach to food safety is in line with current scientific evidence,” says Pearson.
MPI’s study feeds into a wider programme that the Food Standards Australia New Zealand agency is undertaking to assess whether chemicals in food packaging present any health and safety concerns across the Tasman, and if so, whether current regulations adequately manage any risks posed. This programme has concluded and found no regulatory changes were needed in New Zealand or Australia.