article Consumers are demanding that large manufacturers like Kellogg and Nestlé stop producing and distributing the ubiquitous plastic food packaging that’s ubiquitous in American homes.
A class-action lawsuit filed this week in New York claims that the makers of these plastic food packages “have willfully, fraudulently, and maliciously” sold a product that’s “a threat to the consumer’s safety and privacy.”
The suit, which seeks a jury trial, also claims that consumers are being misled into buying food packaging made with plastic that’s unsafe to eat.
The class-actions is the latest in a long line of lawsuits that have come after consumer complaints that plastic food and beverage packaging is unsafe to consume.
In fact, plastic food has become the most widely used plastic in food packaging since the 1960s, according to a report by the Consumer Federation of America, a trade group for the food industry.
But there’s a problem: In some cases, food packaging manufacturers have deliberately marketed their products as safe to eat by putting a sticker on their packaging that says “food safe” or “no plastic.”
That’s just not true, says Jennifer Haggerty, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Michigan’s Kellogg School of Management.
Food packaging can be both safe and unsafe, she says, depending on how it’s packaged.
But when consumers buy food and beverages from food packaging companies, “they’re buying products that are not designed to be safe to consume,” she says.
When consumers see a label like “food” or a sticker with “no plastics” or they don’t know what the sticker means, they assume that the food is safe, HaggerTY says.
But in reality, food containers often contain more than just the most common plastics.
“Food is not only the most commonly used packaging material,” Haggerity says.
“But when you buy food, you’re buying food that’s designed to kill you.”
For example, plastic containers commonly contain plastic particles that can cause cancer and birth defects.
That’s because plastic particles can leach chemicals into the food, according a 2015 study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Plastic-free food packaging also comes with a risk of bacterial contamination, says Michael Hagen, director of the University Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the Cornell University.
Hagerty and Haggertys findings on the food packaging industry and the plastic-free trend aren’t entirely new.
“We’ve known about it for a while,” Hagertys says.
Thats because researchers have looked into the issue for decades.
“This is not new,” she adds.
Plastic food packaging has been on the market since the early 1970s, but the consumer backlash against it has been intense.
“Consumers don’t understand that they’re paying for something that is not safe to put in their mouths,” says HaggerTys.
“It is a threat to their health.”
In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of plastic containers in food.
The agency cited studies that linked the plastics in plastic containers to increased cancer risk.
But it didn’t explicitly say that they were harmful to human health.
“There’s nothing in the law that requires food manufacturers to make food packaging as safe as possible to consumers,” Hagan says.
Consumer groups, like Consumers Union, have also criticized the food and food packaging industries for selling food packaged with plastic.
But Hagan insists that consumers should be able to make informed decisions about food and product packaging.
“The bottom line is that you have to choose a food product over something that has been manufactured with plastic,” she explains.
“You cannot go to a grocery store and not choose a product made with food-grade plastic, because there’s no other choice.”
Hagan adds that plastic can be a problem for consumers.
“If you put plastic in your food, it can contaminate your food,” she points out.
“I would say it’s an especially bad idea to put it in your water, because it can cause bacteria to grow.”
A class action lawsuit filed in New Mexico on Tuesday, however, is a step in the right direction.
The suit alleges that a company called FoodPedia sold food-safe food packaging and other food-related products to consumers.
The company advertised its products as “food-safe” but didn’t disclose the fact that they contained plastic.
According to the suit, the food-safety label on the packaging said, “Please remember, these are not food-quality products.”
In reality, the company sold the packaging as a “safe” product, which is different from the food that consumers would normally eat.
But the lawsuit claims that this was an intentional misrepresentation and that consumers have been misled into purchasing products that may not be food-ready.
“Instead of selling the food as food-