I have a 15 month old daughter, who attends daycare each day. While her daycare provides two snacks a day, the parents provide lunches for their own children. In addition to packing her lunch, I also elect to send in her snacks. Their menu for snacks includes things like raw carrots and dip (which she can’t eat yet), pancakes, cheese quesadillas, oyster crackers, juice, etc. We don’t give her juice and try to avoid processed foods as much as possible. I’m lucky that she’s a good eater so I send in things like fresh fruit, beans, garden-burgers, cheese, yogurt, scrambled eggs, frozen veggies, etc. I’m also trying to be environmentally-friendly so I try to limit the use of zip-top bags and pack her food in reusable plastic containers instead. My problem is that I can’t send in glass (for obvious reasons), so I use a lot of these containers – which get heated up in the microwave at her school, washed in the dishwasher at home, and reused again the following week.
So, now I’m concerned about the chemicals emitted from the heated plastic. That leads me to my question for you, Mrs. Q. Have you thought about the plastic film and packaging that appears to be covering almost all heated items in your cafeteria? I’ve done very little research in what plastics are the worst for emitting chemicals when heated, and maybe the plastic used on your students’ lunches is supposed to be safe (should we believe that???), but that was the first thing I noticed when I started reading your blog. According to this website containing explanations for each number code for plastics (http://ecovillagegreen.com/903/what-do-the-plastic-recycling-numbers-mean/), “food wrap” could be #3 or #4. It says #3 shouldn’t touch food. It also states that the plastic used in reusable containers (#5) is supposedly “safe” when heated. Plastic bags are definitely NOT supposed to ever be heated (I saw my daughter’s teacher do this once when preparing the lunches and I cringed).
This article is very comprehensive about plastics and food exposure: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/product-testing/reviews-tests/kitchen-cooking/plastic-safety-heat-food It mentions that some #5 plastics (supposedly “safe”) tested positive for BPA. I would love any suggestions for containers I could use for my daughter’s meals because I am just not sure the reusable plastic containers are safe when heated. Are they going to discover another problem with another chemical in plastic in the future? I have thought about just serving her food cold. I’m not sure she’d mind and it would save a lot of worry on my end, but some food is just better warm. And, I think all children deserve the opportunity to eat good, healthy food – without added chemicals from plastics.
Mrs. Q here — The school food I ate for six months usually came in sturdy little paper containers with something lining them and of course plastic over the top. I don’t like thinking about what chemicals line the containers. I don’t think those “ingredients” would show up on the standard blood tests!