Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) has asked the public and the food businesses to take necessary precautions against food contamination from plastic packing.
ADFCA warned the public that food items packed in plastic could lead to contamination if the necessary conditions regarding the appropriate levels of heat and amount of time are not met.
"There are many conditions in which food kept in plastic containers could get toxic or contaminated. If the food is too hot and kept in plastic containers for a long time, or if the plastic in use is inappropriate for the food it is used to pack, this can cause some elements of the plastic to seep into the food content," said Mohammad Jalal Al Reyaysa, Director of Public Relations and Communications at ADFCA.
"If the consumers notice any change occurring to the shape of the container, they must be immediately alert that the food in the packet might have turned toxic and unfit for human consumption."
There can be a number of causative factors behind the rotting of food, such as chemical or microbial contamination, he said.
The official said the Authority had spelt out specific instructions about packing food items and drinks in plastic containers.
"Reuse of plastic containers for food is not allowed," he said.
"The heat of the food item should be allowed to subside before being packed in plastic. There are other clear instructions in this regard, such as not using certain types of plastic containers for hot drinks and food. Outlets are also under instruction to mention the type of plastic used on the container."
Al Reyaysa said a set of rules and specifications had been laid out to guard against contaminations occurring from plastic. "The plastic material used should be food grade and as per the standards approved in the Gulf countries and the packaging should be done in a way that prevents against stinks and undesirable tastes. In the case of some food, they must be protected from light and oxygen, as well as from various micro-organisms. The food and the packing should both be sound in shape and content," he stressed. Clear instructions have been given to all food outlets as to the use of plastic containers and bags in packing and supplying food, Al Reyaysa added.