A new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives has found that much of our exposure to Bisphenol-A (BPA) comes from foods packaged in plastic. During the study, five families ate their normal diet for the first few days, then switched to just fresh foods. For the final few days of the study the families started eating their normal diet again.
Each family was measured to determine the level of BPA in their system. During the period they ate the fresh-food diet, the levels of BPA in their systems dropped by more than 60%. When the families returned to their normal diets, the amount of BPA rose back to initial levels.
BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical which affects the hormone system of human beings. The chemical has been linked to obesity, diabetes, breast and prostate cancer, and behavioural and neurological problems – especially in young children. One of the safest ways to avoid BPA is to only buy products packaged in glass jars and bottles.
Unlike other packaging materials, glass does not contain any BPA or other harmful substances. Glass is considered to be completely inert by regulatory bodies including the EU (it is exempt from REACH) and it is the only packaging material to receive a GRAS (Generally Recognised as Safe) rating from the US Food and Drug Administration.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally joined the European Union (EU) and Canada in banning the use of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles and cups. Scientific studies have shown that BPA can leach into the contents of the packaging, causing development problems in young children.
Unlike other packaging materials, glass does not require BPA. In fact, glass is still the only packaging material that has the designation ‘Generally Regarded as Safe’ (GRAS) in the US. It is also the only packaging material to be exempt from the EU’s REACH regulations on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. That’s because glass is a completely inert substance which does not affect the taste, chemical composition or nutritional quality of the food or drink it contains.
Parents with babies often have little time to spend preparing food for their youngsters and many rely on store-bought packaged food. But these products are often packed with preservatives to extend their shelf life.
For parents lucky enough to live in New York City, there is now an alternative: Farm to Baby NYC. Using fresh local and organic ingredients, Farm to Baby NYC prepares healthy fresh jars of baby food and home delivers them to its clients in the city.
Farm to Baby NYC only uses resealable glass containers for its baby products as glass has absolutely nothing to hide! Using glass also ensures the food is free of Bisphenol-A (BPA) and that the taste and quality of the baby food is not affected by the packaging. It alters nothing to the taste or vitamins it preserves. And that’s why it’s the purest packaging for everything.
Next time the company makes a delivery they collect the empty jars and reuse them again, avoiding the need for the packaging to be sent to landfill.
We believe that this might be the first home delivered baby food service in the world. But if you know of similar providers closer to home, why not let us know through the Friends of Glass Facebook page or tweet us at @GlassFriendsEUR.
And if you’re inspired to make your own baby food, the BabyCentre has some tips to get you started. Just remember to keep your baby healthy by packaging your results in pure natural glass!
Glass jars have been around since the 1800s but it wasn’t until the after 1900 that home canning was encouraged and seen as a way to provide better diets, preserve flavor, food longevity and reduce the cost of living. By the end of the century, the decline of the family farm, the low cost of commercially canned foods and the widespread use of freezers had made home canning more of a hobby than a habit.
The Trends: In the new millennium, we have other things on our mind. With the growing concerns over global-warming, as well as our valid worries over food safety, the relationships between food, flavor, health, packaging and sustainability are now at the forefront of our thoughts.
A trend among consumers is emerging: the desire to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. This has been seen in the rapid rise of organic food and farming, the return to popularity of home-cooking and preserving, and an increasing awareness and interest in our foods’ sources and ingredients.
More and more of us are realizing that the future of our planet may very well depend on where we get our food, what we choose to eat and how we decide to store it.
The Research: Commissioned by FEVE (the European Container Glass Federation), the InSites study asked over consumers in 17 countries across Europe what they thought about various packaging materials.
In a nutshell, the survey reveals:
- 65% of consumers prefer glass because it preserves taste,
- 63% perceive that it is safest health-wise,
- 50% say it is the most environmentally-friendly.
The same kind of survey was carried out in the States in 2006 with the same results:
Clearly, consumers agree that glass is their preferred packaging for consumer health and the environment.
Nutritious and Delicious The InSites survey goes on to show that the preference for glass is particularly high when it comes to certain food and drink categories where flavor is everything, such as spirits, wines and beers. More than that, glass also preserves the natural aromas, tastes and textures, making it the perfect material to store fresh and perishable products as fruit juices, smoothies and tomato-based sauces.
Glass is the material of choice for chefs, in particular, Geir Skeie who knows that glass is a true food lover. The purity of glass ensures that food retains its great flavour.
WATCH THE VIDEO:
Recipes and Instructions
Why not give it a go? Here are some handy links to get you started:
International food giant Nestlé has announced that their NaturNesbaby food supplement will be offered to German consumers in glass containers once again. The switch comes just two years after Nestlé changed from glass to plastic.
In an article in the German food industry magazine Lebensmittel Zeitung (25 November 2011), Nestlé points out that their decision is part of an evaluation of the packaging concept for NaturNes. While the company has not announced plans to change the packaging in other countries, they do say that they will adapt to local demands.
European consumers are likely to demand glass according to a survey conducted by InSites in late 2010. Results showed that 14% of the consumers surveyed bought baby food in their household and glass was their preferred packaging material (14%) compared to other materials (3%). So hopefully we spot more glass containers in other countries very soon! :-)
Time Magazine is reporting the results of a new study which shows that a woman’s exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy may lead to behavioural problems in their daughters before they reach the age of three. The study, first published in the journal Pediatrics, suggests that exposure to BPA, especially in developing foetuses, may be long-lasting.
Concerns over BPA have already prompted the European Union to enact legislation which bans the use of BPA in baby bottles within the EU. Now France is planning further legislation which would see BPA eliminated from all food packaging by 2014. The proposal, which is before the French parliament and has the support of the country’s Health Minister, would see warning labels applied immediately to any food packaging which contains BPA and that is targeted at pregnant women or children under three. If the law is passed, France will become the first country in the world to totally ban BPA from food packaging. Meanwhile the EU is monitoring the situation to see if more action is needed at the European level.
While this news is concerning, there are some simple ways that all of us can avoid ingesting BPA. One of the easiest is to choose fresh fruit and vegetables where possible, and frozen or glass-canned alternatives when it is not. Another tip is to stop consuming pre-prepared foods which are packaged in materials other than glass or cardboard.
Earlier this year, the US Breast Cancer Fund reported on a study in which three families reduced their BPA levels by an average of 60% in just three days. As well as following the advice above, the families switched to stainless steel or glass food and beverage storage containers and utilised ceramic and glass containers for microwaving.
While more work needs to be done to understand the long-term impact of BPA on our children, it is easy to minimise the risk thanks to glass.
A new study by Inserm, covering various parts of France including Brittany, Nancy and Poitiers, has shown that phenols definitely affect the birth weights of children. The study found that 95% of the pregnant women examined have the chemicals in their system. Phenols are typically found in some plastics, the linings of some packaging materials, paints and even in sunscreens.
Published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a peer-reviewed journal from the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the study found that three types of phenols can cross the placental barrier. “Bisphenol-A (BPA) has potential effects on foetal growth,” says Rémy Slama from the University of Grenoble, who led the work. Researchers found a direct correlation between the amount of BPA in the mother’s system and the level of increase in birth weight and head circumference.
While phenols and phthalates are present in many industrial products and packaging materials, exposure can be reduced. This can be achieved by ensuring all food and drinks are stored in glass, using glass baby bottles, and only using glass containers to microwave food.
Last February, the European Commission made strong recommendations to parents that they should use glass baby bottles as an alternative to polycarbonate plastic bottles. Unlike these plastics, glass does not contain BPA and is safe for human health as it must comply with very strict safety requirements for materials that come into contact with food.
Unlike other materials, glass is a completely natural material and contains no phenols or phthalates. Container glass is exempt from the EU’s REACH regulation which obliges industry to register any material or substance that is potentially harmful to human health, and to duly inform citizens. Glass vessels are so stable and non-reactive that they are extensively used in toxicological tests.
In the United States, the same concerns about BPA exposure have recently seen politicians re-introduce legislation to ban BPA in food and beverage containers, particularly those destined for baby food. In May 2010, the US Cancer Panel’s warned President Obama about the lack of regulation on chemicals and their consequences on human health. Among other things, the panel recommended that water should be stored in glass and microwave food in glass containers. In the United States, glass packaging material is classified as Generally Recognised as Safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The problem with glass bottles is pretty obvious — drop one on the floor in the center of a late-night feeding, and you’ll have a roomful of shattered glass to clean up. Glass is also heavy and cumbersome. On the upside, glass bottles are sturdy, and they needn’t contain any chemicals that could probably get into the baby’s formula.Plastic baby or child bottles are lightweight, strong, and unbreakable. However, concerns have arisen about the polycarbonate type of plastic bottles because they contain a chemical called bisphenol A (also called BPA).
Bisphenol A is also used in everything from compact discs to the lining of cans, as well as other customer products. A 2007 report by the organization Environment California showed that when heated, five popular brands of BPA-containing plastic newborn or child bottles leached high levels of bisphenol A.
In research of lab rats, low levels of BPA were linked to changes in the brain and reproductive system that research workers speak may donate to an increased risk of prostate and breast cancers and ovarian.
But of course, this research cited that the amount of BPA is not enough to be dangerous. However, early last year, we brought you news via the BBC that 6 manufacturers of babies’ bottles were ordered to remove the controversial chemical from their products following consumer demand. And it appears that Denmark and Canada have banned it completely.
Parents in the US have had their voice heard: according to the BBC, 6 manufacturers of babies’ bottles in the US are to remove a controversial chemical from their products following consumer demand.
Bisphenol A (BPA) – a chemical widely used in plastic manufacture and commonly found in food and drink containers – has sparked growing concern that it could negatively affect babies’ health if, for example, plastic bottles are heated.
Parents are advised to not pour boiling liquid directly into plastic bottles, not to microwave them or use scratched or worn ones.