By Atul Garg
Over its history converters, brand owners, retailers and ultimate consumers have all benefited from aluminum foil’s unique barrier properties which provide a total block to light, moisture and aroma. Today it is used in every conceivable market from food and drink to pharmaceuticals.
Applications include aseptic beverage cartons, sachets, pouches, lids, wrappers, blister and strip packs, foil containers and much more. And coming up over the horizon are even more markets and resource efficient options. These include microwaveable containers gaining a foothold throughout Europe and fascinating and technically innovative applications for pharmaceutical foils.
Conceived as a replacement for tin foil, Robert Victor Neher took out a patent in 1910 for the continuous rolling process and opened the first aluminum rolling plant in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, and by 1911 Bern-based Tobler began wrapping its chocolate bars in aluminum foil including the unique triangular chocolate bar, Toblerone. And by 1912 aluminum foil was being used by Maggi to pack soups and stock cubes.
Hardly did we know that aluminum Reacts with the food wrapped in it and makes them harmful for consumption.
Aluminum foil is used in oven based cooking for example, roasting and baking. Being a highly reactive metal, it is temperature sensitive. When the food is wrapped in the Aluminum foil, leaching occurs and gets absorbed in food.
Aluminum is more likely to leach in these conditions: at high temp., in acidic and spicy foods, liquid food solution like lemon and tomato juice.
Cold foods can be safe to wrap but only for a limited period of time as the food has a shelf life and the aluminum in the foil will start to leach out depending upon the ingredients used for cooking such as spices.
What could be its major effects on human health?
Human bodies can excrete small amount of Al easily. As per WHO (World Health Organization) daily intake of 40mg/kg of body weight per day is safe.
Today people are exposed to and ingest far more than the suggested safe daily intake.
Aluminum is present in corn, yellow cheese, salt, herbs, spices and tea. It’s present in pharmacological agents like antacids and antiperspirants. Aluminum intake is this form is digestible as it is a constituent of the food.
When Aluminum enters into our body after reacting with food, our digestive system is not able to digest it and is starts accumulating inside our body particularly in liver, kidney, bones and brain tissues.
If the extent of aluminum is increased to a significant level it can cause severe adverse effects to the body and the nervous system.
Diseases caused due to Aluminum leaching are: Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, anxiety, kidney failure, asthma, abdominal pain.
According to a research, the amount of Aluminum migrated into the food during cooking of foods wrapped in Aluminum foil is above the permissible limits set by the WHO. Hence, Aluminum foils can be hazardous for human health.
Now the question may arises, is it safe to use Aluminum utensils for cooking?
It’s not safe. But it’s not as dangerous as Aluminum foils. Aluminum cookware’s tends to be oxidized providing an inert layer that prevents Aluminum from leaching out, Which is not the case with Aluminum foils. It is disposable hence an inert layer cannot be created.
What could be used as an alternative for Aluminum foils?
We should switch to paper wraps. One of the best solution and alternative for aluminum foils. Major brands like Subway, KFC, McDonalds, Burger King, etc. have opted for paper wraps.
Oddy Uniwraps has taken a small initiative to bring paper based food wraps at home. It is heat resistant upto 220 degree Celsius, non-sticky, certified for contact with food & keeps food fresher than aluminium foil due to its breathable material which optimizes the moisture content of your food. You can now make your packed meals fun and keep it fresh by using Oddy Uniwraps. The product can be safely used in microwave ovens within this range. Being biodegradable It is environment friendly and is a perfect substitute for aluminum foils.
(Atul Garg is the Founder & CEO, Oddy Uniwraps)
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