Our kitchens are full of utensils and gadgets to help making cooking easier, but some of them could be harming your health without you even realising.
Reportedly, plastic kitchen utensils such as spoons, spatulas and barbecue tongs may be causing damaging to your liver and thyroid. This is according to scientists at the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessments (BfR), who advise their government on food safety.
Taking to Twitter, they wrote, ‘Cooking spoons, spatulas or whisks: #polyamide (PA) #KitchenUtensils provide valuable baking, roasting and cooking assistance.
‘However, components of this plastic can migrate from the utensils into the food.’
According to their report, if utensils are heated to temperatures up to 70 degrees centigrade, they can release toxins into food that they come into contact with.
These substances are called oligomers, and can potentially lead to liver and thyroid diseases due to the method in which food is broken down in the body.
According to the BfR report, ‘These components are oligomers. They are composed of a few similar molecules of simple plastic building blocks made of specific starting chemicals. They are formed unintentionally during the production of plastics. Due to their small size, some oligomers can migrate from plastic into food. ‘
In order to discover this, the BfR looked into previous studies carried out on utensils. It was revealed that toxicity levels were acceptable at no more than 5mg/kg. However, data from 2016 – 2017 revealed that in ten of 33 examined utensils, values higher than that were found.
However, those no need to unduly panic.
Ingestion of these chemicals would need to be in high doses to potentially trigger health complications, so the BfR concluded that plastic utensils pose a possible risk to the general population – but not a serious risk, so don’t go throwing out all of your kitchen utensils just yet!
To minimise risk though, you might choose to use wooden or metallic utensils when cooking as opposed to plastic, as these do not give off the same toxins.
If you do have to use plastic kitchen utensils, you could also make sure you keep contact with food as brief as possible, especially when the food has been heated, to avoid any risks.