Latex found in packaging, some foods
By Sarah Jane Nutt
Aug 8, 2006, 07:43
Editor's note: Packaging may contain more than latex. Other toxic chemicals in food wrappers have been reported early.
Aug. 7 (foodconsumer.org) - When you eat a banana, you may not stop to think about that little sticker you throw away with the peel.
For those suffering from acute latex allergies, that sticker could be as fatal as a rubber glove.
According to a recent investigation in England, you may be consuming rubber proteins with your banana ¨C or chocolate bar or ice-cream.
The investigation tested latex allergen levels in 21 types of packaging and found that one third of those materials tested contained latex, including confectionary adhesives, rubber bands, meat packaging, stickers commonly found on produce, and ice-cream wrappers, which contained the largest amount of latex.
The investigation found that the rubber proteins also were present in some foods ¨C in other words, the latex found in the package material had been absorbed by the food.
While the portion of the worldĄŻs population suffering from acute latex allergies may not be great, a reaction in a latex-sensitive person could cause a fatal reaction.
Reactions may be caused by as little as a billionth of a gram per milliliter, according to some experts.
Unlike rules concerning other possible allergens, such as peanut oils, there is no rule mandating warning labels stating the possible presence of latex allergens.
An advisory board for the UK Latex Allergy Support Group requested that warnings be added to food packaging; however, the Food Standards Agency in England declined until further evidence is found that latex allergens from packaging actually are transferred to foods.
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