Dangers of Food and Water In Plastic Containers

Many Nigerians did not understand where the Agriculture Minister Audu Ogbeh was coming from when sometime ago he warned his compatriots against the use of cellophane in their food regime. He was speaking from a scientifically informed position we should align with for the good health of society. 

The minister raised an alarm that Nigerians who are eating beans pudding (‘moinmoin’) cooked in cellophane (nylon) bags risk serious health challenge as the product is poisonous. According to him, cellophane bags contain large doses of dioxin that are harmful to health. Let me also add that liquid milk tin is also dangerous for packaging ‘moinmoin’ when cooking as leaching of chemical from the milk tin into the content will still occur in the process. The healthy alternative for packaging or wrapping ‘moinmoin’ when steaming is the use of local green leaves which do not contain poisonous substances. These leaves rather add flavour, antioxidants and aroma to the ‘moinmoin’.

Plastics, no doubt, have become a part of our daily lives, especially in the kitchen. The role of plastics as packaging and storage containers for our food cannot be overemphasised. Plastics are light-weight, readily available and cheap, hence their heavy demand in the kitchen. Plastics like PET bottles also become handy for packaging water in various sizes. Cooking oil is equally packaged in plastic kegs, jerry cans and bottles of different sizes. Some electric jugs, insulated food warmers, food flasks, food serving spoons (for staple and swallow foods) – spatula and ladle for soup, sieve and many other kitchen utensils, are made of plastics. Plastics can however be hazardous to human lives, depending on the plastic type, how it is used and what it is used for.

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