Food safety has been in the news in recent times. Yesterday the issue attained centre stage in various discussions after the danger posed by plastic containers and wrappers was carried by a national newspaper.
Even though the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) dismissed the research findings of a scientist regarding the danger posed by plastics, we think that it should prompt a national conversation.
Whatever is the truth or not about the danger inherent in the use of plastic wrappers for food, we think that there is reason to be apprehensive about the story.
From koko to rice and stew, these transparent or opaque plastics are used as wrappers by hawkers. A regulatory officer of the FDA said that when hot liquid such as koko or porridge is put in such plastics or polythene bags at a certain temperature there is bound to be a somewhat melting of these which are chemicals, into the food they contain.
One does not need to be told that such a situation is not good for good health because the chemicals used in producing these containers would definitely interfere with the quality of the contents such as food or water.
Perhaps one day we would know how such plastics and polythene bags have degraded the health of those who use them—and they are many.
We do not know how these anomalies can be stemmed, given the fact that we have all become used to their use and policing them is next to an impossibility, knowing the society in which we are.
The best opportunity under the circumstances is educating the people about the danger posed by the incessant use of such materials especially with hot contents.
There is no doubt that putting food just removed from boiling oil in a black polythene bag is not safe for one’s health.
The number of vulnerable persons in our society is substantial and it is this critical mass of people who should be protected from such dangers because not doing so would be a shirking of the responsibility of the authorities concerned.
What worsens the case is the fact that there seem to be no agreement between the regulatory authority, FDA, and those researchers who think that there is lurking danger in the use of these chemical containers.
The more such disagreements last the more danger the vulnerable are exposed to. We have enough trouble from infected food that the danger posed by polythene bags and plastics would be too much for us.
It is our take that the relevant authorities undertake further and more detailed research into the safety and otherwise of these stuff, especially under hot liquid or other foods, with a view to doing what is best under the circumstances to protect lives of innocent people.