Researchers from the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto (ISPUP) warned this Tuesday, on the occasion of World Food Safety Day, of the need for consumers to know the “number of recycling” of the containers where they store food.
Speaking to the Lusa agency, Duarte Torres, one of the researchers involved in the FOCACCia project, which aimed to assess exposure to chemical risks in the food chain and contaminants from packaging, warned of the need to consumers to pay attention to recycling number of containers where they store and heat food. Indeed, packages numbered three, six and seven “may contain contaminants that migrate to food”.
“You always have to consider and understand what material this container is made of,” the researcher stressed, noting that this information is provided by the recycling number (a number that normally appears in the recycling triangle), and that it is advisable to “reduce exposure” to compounds such as phthalates, used to give flexibility to plastics and which can migrate from materials to air, food or drink.
Avoid burnt parts
On the date that marks World Food Safety Day, Duarte Torres also warned of the need to avoid consuming the “very burnt or charred” parts of meat, fish and eggs, as they can concentrate “undesirable” chemical compounds such as amines. heterocyclics, which form during manufacturing at high temperatures and for long periods of time. “The message is to avoid over-processing food, which should be handled gently. When heavily burnt parts appear in a food, that part should not be ingested,” he observed. He also recommended replacing processed and ultra-processed foods, the result of formulations that contain a “wide range of ingredients, including lots of additives,” with less processed foods.
Duarte Torres stressed the importance of having a “varied diet, based on less processed products”, although this seems to be a “common” recommendation. “A varied diet, based on less processed products, are basic principles with multiple benefits and must be started at an early age,” he added.
On the occasion of World Food Safety Day, the researchers involved in the FOCACCia project have published a brochure and a Ebook, materials developed jointly with the Food and Economic Security Authority (ASAE) and the Directorate General for Health (DGS), which contain advice and recommendations for consumers. “The brochure contains some tips for the end consumer and some practical advice, while the Ebookin addition to these tips, there is a more detailed description of the project and its result,” explained Diogo Torres.
Funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), the FOCACCia project sought to understand exposure to food additives and contaminants, as well as dietary patterns with higher levels of these compounds in metabolic and cognitive health children and adolescents.
Based on data from cohort Generation XXI, from ISPUP, the researchers observed that the children most exposed to bisphenol (BFA) were those who had higher levels of adiposity, namely a body mass index, a fat mass and a circumference of height, as well as higher insulin levels at age 13 and more likely to belong to a higher cardiovascular risk class.
At the same time, the team concluded that higher consumption of unprocessed foods at age seven had a favorable effect on children’s cardiometabolic health at age 10. In contrast, children who, at age four, fell into the “energy-dense food” model, i.e., ate more sweets, soft drinks, snacks, pizzared and processed meats, compared to children in a healthy model, had more adiposity at age seven and ten.