How do you know if your Thanksgiving stuffing is actually clean?

As we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday in the United States of America – it got me to thinking of how static electricity and contamination might affect my holiday food & meal preparations.  I know you probably say, “Who thinks of that and why?” but it’s the nature of my job and our company, so it’s always in the back of my mind.

When you unwrap packaged food (turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, yams, pie crust, etc.) – how do you know that the package your food comes in is clean?  The simple answer is that the normal person doesn’t know. That question of cleanliness is just assumed by the consumer, but the normal person doesn’t really think about whether or not the package their food is in is uncontaminated.  The FDA tries to setup requirements and mandates but they are so small in comparison to regulate it that companies fall between the cracks and it’s not until you read or hear about it on the news.  By that time it’s too late.  There is an interest read on the FDA website about the requirements and steps required to package food.

Contamination in the food packaging industry

In the food packaging industry – static & contamination can be a huge problem. In particular – plastic packaging. All the rage these days is for packaging to say, “BPA Free”, right? Bisphenol A (BPA) is an omnipresent compound found in plastics. It is a fundamental ingredient of plastics from polycarbonate to polyester. An article in Scientific American (*www.scientificamerican.com) says, “BPA is routinely used to line cans to prevent corrosion and food contamination; it also makes plastic cups and baby and other bottles transparent and shatterproof.” Insert your shocked face here!  No wonder why plastic and packaging companies are working so hard to provide us with “BPA Free” packaging and products.  Makes you wonder what your canned yams and cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving are packaged in, doesn’t it?  The second point regarding plastic packaging is that particulates tend to stick on plastic materials if the plastic has not been static neutralized.  If the plastic packaging has not been static neutralized – particulates – usually loose, dry contaminates (and food; i.e. your stuffing) will attract to the plastic.  Prior to packaging – you may have contaminates that stick to the plastic or bag – so that is an issue.  Also, if the plastic is sticking to itself and not opening up enough during the filling process, then the product being packaged (i.e. stuffing) will stick to the sides as well as the outside or top of the plastic PRIOR to it being heat sealed shut.  That is why static & contamination control is an integral part of the packaging industry.

This year – I am THANKFUL for static control and contamination control products manufactured and sold by Static Clean to packaging companies. Without such technology that allows us to neutralize and control static and particulates in the packaging process – I may be eating stuffing a la mystery meat.  It gives entirely new meaning to “Stuffing” doesn’t it?