In the last few days we have read some articles of important daily newspapers (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa) that warn readers of the possible risks of misuse of aluminum in the kitchen, particularly with regard to cooking and preserving foods.
The articles, we should specify, do not have an alarming tone (which would be totally unjustified), but merely highlight the need for more awareness in the daily use of aluminum objects and packaging to make the best use of them. However, as unfortunately happens more and more often, when a news is published and shared on social media, its original intentions are lost in a tide of comments that often misrepresent it; users tend to read just the head title, without deepening the news, and shortly creating “metropolitan legends” that unnecessarily worry the community.
As producers of aluminum deformable tubes also for the food industry, we care for the health and tranquility of consumers. And we felt obliged to do some clarity.
Aluminum packaging for the kitchen
We can distinguish two types of aluminum packaging that have to do with food:
- Aluminum packagings used by the food industry to store and distribute foods, such as aluminum tomato concentrate tubes or cans containing corn, beans, etc.
- Aluminum packagings sold in markets so that we can use it to store advanced foods we have cooked at home and maybe put it in a refrigerator; it is the case of aluminum tubs and foil.
The articles focus on the latter case and on the possibility that the aluminium “interacts” with the foods, causing the migration of aluminum ions from the envelope to the food. As the articles report, we talk of small quantities that could hardly become problematic; however, we can follow simple virtuous behaviors that can reduce any risk and also can benefit our health. Among these behaviors, always remember to avoid storaging hot, acid or salty foods in aluminum foil or tubs.
We recall that aluminum is not a toxic material itself, indeed it is naturally contained in certain foods, such as potatoes, mushrooms, spinach, tea … as for any other substance, however, there are limits of ingestion that we better comply. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has determined that for an adult this limit is 1 milligrams of aluminum per kilogram of weight per week.
Aluminum in the food industry
Be careful, however: these recommendations apply only to aluminum packagings sold for using in the home kitchen; they are not needed for those of the first type, because aluminium packaging produced and used by the food industry are absolutely safe and proof of any migration. Let’s see why.
The aluminum food packaging industries are already obliged to follow strict regulations dictated by the Higher Institute of Health (as the Corriere della Sera article properly reported), in order to avoid the “migration” of aluminum from packaging to food.
We all have tried once to open a can of legumes or corn, and seen that the interior is not of metal but appears white.
This is an inner lining (called coating) that is inserted to avoid direct contact of aluminum with food.
Favia aluminum tubes follow the same production process: inside the tube a layer of inert material is inserted, this coating does not react chemically with food, is totally non-toxic, tasteless and odorless. It is an epoxy-phenol resin; the presence of harmful substances is verified according to the European current regulations.
Favia production is subjected to scrupulous controls to ensure that tubes are adhering to the highest quality standards. Qualifying examination for food contact happen periodically on the basis of the protocol provided by law (migration test); also our Quality Control Office follows every stage of production and is available to customer companies for information and to support them for requiring certifications.
Decades of experience as partners of major multinational pharmaceutical companies have led us to develop a work method that aims at excellence at every stage of the production process, considering the needs and expectations of the final consumer.
In summary, you can easily buy food products in aluminum tubes, as you have always done untill today: inside the tubes anchovy paste, tomato concentrate, jams, sauces, creams, and other foods are absolutely safe. Enjoy your meal!