Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
19 March 2000 Issue

Plastics May be Contaminating Your Food with Animal By-Products
By [email protected]

I was recently reading an article in the Central Penn Business Journal titled, "Making it Kosher. Firm Changes Oil in Plastic," by John R. Finger. According to the article, plastic containers contain an ingredient, which is added in the manufacturing process, called tallow. This ingredient is an animal fat-based by-product, which keeps the hot plastic from sticking to the machinery. As if this weren't bad enough, there is evidence that these ingredients "leach out" or rise to the surface of these plastic containers and then mix into the food contained within. For this reason, the FDA currently regulates these additives in much the same manner in which it oversees all ingredients added to our foods.

Apparently, according to this article, steel food containers used to be lined by this animal-based tallow ingredient. However, with pressure from the kosher food-certification authorities and Muslim certifiers, this ingredient was removed from the manufacturing process and replaced with a vegetable-based coating.

Currently, there is only one company manufacturing "kosher" plastic bowls, lids, and cookware: Premier Classic Container. They plan to launch their products, which range in cost from $1.39 to $2.99 a piece, in April of this year. Currently, the Giant Food Stores Inc., in Carlisle, Pennsylvania will be the only ones stocking the product, but this is only the beginning. Giant plans to release the product slowly and build momentum before a mass distribution.

Premier claims that there is such an overwhelming demand for their product that they are in the process of making business decisions and implementations that will enable them to produce enough of this product to meet these demands. In fact, Del Riley, co-owner of Premier Classic Container, foresees the entire plastic industry switching over to the vegetable-based containers within the next three to five years. Tupperware Corporation and Rubbermaid Incorporated did not return calls for comment in this article. Wonder why?

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