There have been several food recalls lately because of traces of plastic in some foods. For instance, almost 60,000 pounds of Pilgrim's Pride chicken nuggets were recalled back in June because they may contain plastic. But scientists have even found plastic in things that haven't been recalled. Take protein powder, for instance (even organic brands!). And a brand new study has uncovered seafood plastic in some supermarket staples.
Published in the journal Environmental Science&Technology, QUEX Institute scientists discovered microplastic in wild blue crabs, oysters, prawns, wild squid, and sardines picked up in Australian markets. This type of plastic is less than 5 millimeters, or similar in size to a sesame seed, according to Medical News Today.
The edible parts of the seafood were tested by heating it in an incubator to around 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Also inside was a solvent that "digested" the edible parts. Then scientists looked for plastics using a method called the "pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry." Five types of plastic that come from packaging, synthetic materials, and marine debris were found, according to the publication.
"Considering an average serving, a seafood eater could be exposed to approximately 0.7 milligrams (mg) of plastic when ingesting an average serving of oysters or squid, and up to 30 mg of plastic when eating sardines," the lead author of the study, Francisca Ribeiro, says.
She also notes that the scientists were most surprised by the amount of plastic in sardines. Eat 14 servings of the small fish and you will have eaten around the same weight as one plastic straw. The study concludes that seafood plastic packaging needs to be looked at further since simply opening them can create microplastic.
This study isn't the only one to find toxic materials in popular everyday foods in recent months. One study discovered that fast food wrappers contain high levels of a chemical called PFAS. The man-made substance makes things grease- and water-resistant.