On my Facebook page the other day, I posted a link to The New York Times story about the incredible growth of organic baby/kids food in squeezable pouches and how these convenient products have impacted the family dynamic. This article generated some questions from a few of you, and I thought that I would address them here.
First off, the article is not an indictment against organic. (Many parents know that organic is much, much healthier than conventional food, and that is one reason why organic pouches are booming in popularity.)
Rather, the NYT article discusses how our lives have become so busy, so scheduled, and so hectic that organic food in a pouch is slowly becoming the de facto way to feed our kids.
As a result, the family ritual of dinnertime is going by the wayside, a very sad commentary.
Even though parents may be buying these organic food pouches for themselves or for their children because of time constraints, there is something very important to keep in mind here.
People should not believe that these pouches are acceptable on a regular basis as meal replacements for kids.
Not only are children being deprived of home-cooked, organic meals but these pouches are made of plastic.
How harmful is this plastic to the human body? If it contains Bisphenol-A (BPA), we know it causes real problems.
If it doesn’t contain BPA, it contains some other chemicals that may have a similar type of negative effect.
The unfortunate reality is that the world of synthetic chemicals is incredibly opaque — on purpose. We just don’t know a lot about these chemicals and what problems they may cause.
What is safe is to assume, however, is that the plastic leaches into food. And this is much more of an issue for kids than adults. Why?
Their brains and bodies are still developing, and the chemicals can interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system. Also, on a pound for pound basis, kids eat 3-4 times more food than adults.
While I may not be as susceptible to plastic as a child, I still take precaution and this is the exact reason why I use glass water bottles. I try as hard as I can not to drink from plastic.
All this being said, I promote organic food, write about organic products, and encourage people to eat as much organic as possible.
Furthermore, I purchase and consume organic products that come in plastic bags. So, I am not 100% plastic-free. Not even remotely close.
My goal of this post is to simply raise people’s awareness that the packaging of organic food is something that always needs to be taken into consideration.
While some organic food companies may not appreciate or agree with what I have written here, it is important that I educate and inform my readers the best that I can.
A few other things on this subject.
1) The discussion above only touches on the impact to human health. The environmental cost is huge as well, something I did not get into.
2) If you are concerned about this issue for your infant or toddler, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Infant Formula and Baby Bottles.
4) When I speak with founders of small organic food companies, a lot of them express a strong desire to offer sustainable packaging but they just don’t have many options. Either they have limited financial resources or their production runs are just too small.
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