Editor’s note: Each Spring, attorneys Bill Marler and Denis Stearns teach a Food Safety Litigation course in the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. This specialized program for attorneys brings together those who are interested in our food system, from farm to table. As a final assignment, students are asked to write an op-ed or essay on food safety, with the best to be selected for publication in Food Safety News. The following is one of the essays for 2020.
By Shirah Dedman
Covid-19 is bringing out the hoarder in all of us. Canned goods, packaged foods, and bottled water are flying off shelves almost as soon as they are stocked. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) waylays concerns that fresh produce may carry the virus. It’s easier for us to consider food safety in terms of pathogen contamination such as Salmonella and E-coli, or in the present case, Covid-19. What often remains unaddressed are the food safety issues presented by toxic chemicals within the very thing we hope is keeping our food safe in the first place: food packaging.
Toxic chemicals found in our foods
Plastic packaging is ubiquitously used in our food supply systems. Found in bottles, cans, and paperboard, plastics keep food fresh, stable, protract shelf life, keep pests out, and prevent bacterial contamination.
However, chemicals that make up these plastics can migrate into food with which it comes into contact. And these chemicals are cause for concern having been linked