Cardboard packaging made from recycled newspapers contains toxic chemicals, known as mineral oils, which contaminate food products, Swiss researchers have found. As a result leading food manufacturers are in a rush to chance their packaging amid concerns of health issues.
Well known cereal brand Jordans has already stopped using recycled cardboard and several of its competitors like Kellogg's and Weetabix have said they are taking steps to reduce the amount of mineral oil in their packaging, the BBC reported yesterday.
Is there reason to worry?
According to the study, exposure to mineral oils has been linked to inflammation of internal organs and cancer. The scientists found quantities of mineral oils between 10 and 100 times above the agreed limit in popular foods like cereals, pasta and rice that had cartons made from recycled cardboard.
Should we be ditching our morning ritual of Crunchy Nut and say no to recycled cardboard packaging and demand food manufacturers use only newly harvested trees? Errr... No.
Today though UK food safety watchdog Food Standards Agency (FSA) insists there is no safety risk from recycled cardboard boxes, and the study did conclude that if you eat a balanced and varied diet you won't have much need to worry.
So unless you eat the cardboard as well and have a very limited diet of products that are packaged in recycled cardboard, you can continue to enjoy your bowls of cereal and pasta. Also think about the poor trees; no need to cut down more trees than necessary.
What do you think? Should food manufacturers stop using recycled cardboard packaging, or is it all a bit of an overreaction?