The “Pizza War” is over, at least for a few cities.
In the coming weeks, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will issue its first-ever regulations governing the use of food-grade plastic in pizzas.
That’s good news for the pizza industry, which has been dealing with rising health concerns over the use and consumption of plastic in food for decades.
According to the FDA, the plastic used in food is not as harmful as some consumer advocates have made it out to be, and that’s a huge win for consumers and for the environment.
The plastic in your pizza is not going to pose any health risk to you or your loved ones, the FDA says, citing studies conducted in the US and abroad.
In fact, the agency said that plastic used for food packaging and in food products has been shown to reduce cancer and cardiovascular disease.
In a press release, FDA officials said they hope the regulations will lead to a “decisive” shift in how we use food in the coming years.
While plastic can be a significant source of pollution, it’s the plastic that can pose the biggest health risks.
“The plastic used as food packaging in America is more toxic than plastic used to manufacture cigarettes,” said Lisa M. Burdick, deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
“It’s not just that the plastics are bad, it can be that the plastic is toxic and carcinogenic.”
The new rules will require manufacturers to use a biodegradable polyethylene foam to help the food packaging absorb the plastic, and the foam must be recycled at a rate of 50 percent for every product sold.
The new regulations will also require manufacturers that sell food-based products to include a biosecurity label that identifies the use, origin, storage, and disposal of plastics.
Beads, which are often used to attach packaging to products, have been used as a biocontainment device in the past.
But the new rules say that beads can only be used to cover packaging on a “limited basis,” which can be limited up to 15 days, according to the EPA.
“When a manufacturer uses a biosafe, that means they take into account the environmental effects of plastic and other plastics,” said Burdik.
The rules also require food companies to disclose the total plastic waste produced by their operations, including the types of plastics that were used, the quantity of plastic used, and how much it was disposed of.
The regulations also require a biostatistician to periodically review waste collected at food businesses and report back to the agency.
But while the regulations could have an impact on the food industry, they are likely to also have a negative impact on many other food producers.
“There are a lot of small companies who are going to be affected by these rules, because they are all relying on this plastic,” said Karen DeMarco, director of research and policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group.
The industry group Consumer Reports called the regulations “a big step forward in the fight against food-borne illnesses and food-related injuries.”
“The new food-manufacturing regulations will help put the food supply back on track by giving consumers confidence that food products are safe and biodegradeable,” said DeMarco.