Food Safety

Published on March 9th, 2011 | by Jeannie Moulton


Toxic Recycled Cereal Boxes? We Just Can’t Win.

Yay, companies are using recycled materials to make packaging!  Boo, it may be toxic.  Sigh.  We can’t win…ever.

Study showing mineral oils leaching into food

A new study showed that food stored in packaging made from recycled cardboard may have some mineral oils that leeched from the cardboard.  Mineral oils have been shown to be toxic on rats and could cause in humans:

  • chronic inflammation of various internal organs
  • cancer.

In some foods, the amount of mineral oils found was over 10 times the acceptable intake limit set.

Where mineral oils come from

The mineral oils are believed to come from printing inks of recycled newspaper used in the recycled cardboard.

In the UK, steps are being taken by some corporation to no longer use recycled cardboard made from newspapers for food packaging.

The government is not panicking about the study…and you shouldn’t either.

Don’t panic yet

Rats are usually tested with relative quantities much higher than a human could ever reasonably consume.

The mineral oils seem to go through all but the thickest plastic lining bags…about 25% of the foods tested were mineral oil free.

However, if you eat a varied diet, and not every single meal comes from a cardboard box, you are probably fine.  This is what the UK food standards agency is saying and is not drastically overreacting.

Reaction in the US?

Has anyone read anything about the reaction in the US?  I can only find sources from the UK in time for this article.

Sources: yahoo UK and medicalnewstoday

Photo credit: dpstyles

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About the Author

I spent the last five years earning my PhD in Engineering. I enjoy all types of science and writing, so I am trying out a new career path in science publication and communication. Recently, I have moved to Oxford, England. As an environmentally-conscious person, Oxford is a great place to live...notably there is no car required. I love to talk about vegan cooking, plant-based diets and the benefits of such, so just ask if you are interested. I do ballet for fun and love kitties.

One Response to Toxic Recycled Cereal Boxes? We Just Can’t Win.

  1. Pingback: Are Your Recycled Cereal Boxes Toxic? – climate change and environmental news

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