Can you imagine that the only thing that can protect you becomes your worst nightmare? Well, this is already under way … Your best ally can become your worst enemy! Could we do something to stop it …?
In this article, first we briefly explain the context and finally, the terrible reality that looms over us. SHARE IT! We need to move consciences.
Do you think this can not affect you? BE CAREFUL! You could be a celiac or have non-celiac gluten sensitivity and NOT KNOW it … Why do you think scientists compare celiac disease with a chameleon? It is estimated that MILLIONS of people in the world are UNDIAGNOSED!
- 1 The best ally of the celiac
- 2 Living without plastic?
- 3 Plastic and environment
- 4 Biodegradable plastic
- 5 Do you know which are the main proteins scientists are experimenting with?
- 6 Products already developed and marketed
- 7 A nature without plastics: Save the planet … without condemning millions of people
- 8 Biodegradable plastics already available, safe for celiacs
- 9 A question in the air
- 10 REFERENCES
The best ally of the celiac
Your disease has no other treatment. The only thing you can do is not consume any gluten.
You could not lead a healthy life if you could not rigorously isolate all your food.
Therefore, without a doubt, your biggest ally is food preservation plastic. It is the main barrier that separates your food from the omnipresent gluten contamination in every corner: factories, stores, restaurants, school canteens, homes …
Living without plastic?
For you, impossible.
For you and for millions of people around the world. A number that increases steadily and unstoppably.
Experts estimate that up to one sixth of the world’s population could be affected by one of the various disorders that gluten causes.
Plastic and environment
As you know, that plastic has become a serious problem of environmental pollution is a reality. Microplastics and nanoplastics have invaded ecosystems. There are tons of plastic in the sea.
This problem has been exacerbated by disposable plastics that are not recycled. As a consequence, most of them end up in the ocean and enter the food chain.
The food sector is one of those that generate the greatest amounts of plastic waste. Undoubtedly, biodegradable films are the best option for our planet.
For this reason, research is being carried out on plastics and films to conserve food manufactured from animal and vegetable proteins, and starches.
The development of plastics, edible films and coatings to achieve biomaterials is very advanced. Their objective is the packaging and conservation of both fresh and processed foods.
And here comes the problem. You will discover it in the next section.
Do you know which are the main proteins scientists are experimenting with?
If you have read this far, sure you already suspect it.
Yes, your worst fears are confirmed: gluten.
Its viscoelastic characteristics are unique. In addition, its worldwide availability and its low price make it a very cheap option. And in this world, as you well know, the economic benefits with the least investment is what matters to companies.
Casein (milk protein) and soy are also being used in research, among other substances. Their proteins are very allergenic and can cause reactions in a part of people. In some cases, they can be fatal without immediate medical attention (anaphylactic shock). They also usually affect a part of celiacs and people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Products already developed and marketed
Currently, there are already products made from wheat and barley.
- Six–pack rings for beer cans made with the remains of wheat and barley, from brewing. They are released and used by the company Saltwater Brewery, in Florida.
- Dishes, cutlery, glasses, jars, etc. of plastic made with wheat straw fibre and marketed by various companies. While it is straw, not grain, in all likelihood they contain contamination with gluten.
A nature without plastics: Save the planet … without condemning millions of people
If to avoid cross contamination and choosing gluten-free certified foods (without gluten trace amounts) is already very difficult for you, can you imagine adding that you have to check the packaging? And that you can not know if this is safe for you because there is no regulation?
Can you imagine that you can not safely buy even foods that are gluten-free by nature, because the packaging can be made of wheat …? Not a simple envelope of salad, nor a cheese, nor a tray of steaks … Nor the specific products for celiacs … no food!
And not just food. You should check any packaging, since wheat-based plastics have many more possible applications. Therefore, they could end up contaminating you if there are remains in your hands after touching them and reach your mouth, children who suck everything, etc.
Biodegradable plastics already available, safe for celiacs
There are many other possible options for the manufacture of biodegradable plastics. Among these alternatives we can find:
- Potato Plastic. It is a biodegradable thermoplastic made of potato starch and water. It can decompose in nature in two months. It has been developed by researchers from the University of Lund, in Sweden. Potato Plastic manufactures drinking straws, cutlery and bags of salt with a mixture of hot water and potato starch. Starch comes from potato skins discarded by fast food establishments or potatoes that are not suitable for sale in supermarkets.
- Nuatan. It is an alternative material to plastic and is totally natural. It is made of corn starch, sugar and cooking oil. It was created by the Slovak designers Vlasta Kubušová and Miroslav Král. It is innocuous to fish, biodegradable (it takes up to 15 years to decompose) and supports very high temperatures.
- Ooho. It is an edible container for liquids, made with seaweed extract. It’s cheaper than plastic. It has been created by Skipping Rocks Lab, from the United Kingdom. According to this company, it degrades in the environment in about six weeks.
- NatureFlex. It is a range of biofilms based on wood pulp harvested in sustainable plantations. They have been developed by Futamura.
- Biodegradable plastic made from a polyester compound that, when reacted with water, decomposes into non-polluting small molecules. It has been developed by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in its search to manufacture biodegradable plastics capable of decomposing naturally in carbon dioxide and water.
A question in the air
Will it happen as it always happens, first we have the problem and then legislate? Too late, incorrectly or never …?
The scientists warn that the impact on health of the use of gluten in plastics for food preservation is a cause for concern. Therefore, it must be assessed and regulated, which as of 2019 has not yet been done.
There are many other possible options for the manufacture of safe biodegradable films.
We need to move consciences and that this information reaches all corners of the world.
Share this article with as many people as you can. Surely you have a friend or family member affected. Or you yourself can be affected and not know it yet … Help them! Help yourself!
- «Logran avances en la resistencia de biocompuestos del trigo como alternativa a los plásticos contaminantes». (Agosto de 2018) Europa Press.
- «De vuelta al futuro: los científicos acuden a la naturaleza para buscar alternativas al plástico». (28 de noviembre de 2018) ONU Medio Ambiente.
- «Exploring the potential for adopting alternative materials to reduce marine plastic litter». (mayo de 2018) United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- «Self-reinforced gluten polymers: A step towards a true biocomposite». (25 de abril de 2018) Open Access Government
- «New material gluten plastic used in sculpture at the Garden of Rosendal». (5 de julio de 2013) Innventia.com.
- Zink J, Wyrobnik T, Prinz T, Schmid M (23 de agosto de 2016). «Physical, Chemical and Biochemical Modifications of Protein-Based Films and Coatings: An Extensive Review». Int J Mol Sci 17 (9): pii: E1376. PMC 5037656. PMID 27563881. doi: 10.3390/ijms17091376.
- Thakur R, Pristijono P, Scarlett CJ, Bowyer M, Singh SP, Vuong QV (marzo de 2019). «Starch-based films: Major factors affecting their properties». Int J Biol Macromol 132:1079-1089. PMID 30926503. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2019.03.190.
- Wretfors C (2008). «Hemp fibre and reinforcements of wheat gluten plastics». Alnarp: Sveriges lantbruksuniv. ISBN 978-91-85911-79-0.
- Quintero CJ, Falguera V, Muñoz HA (2010). «Películas y recubrimientos comestibles: importancia y tendencias recientes en la cadena hortofrutícola». Revista Tumbaga (5): 93-118. ISSN 1909-4841.
- Day L, Augustin MA, Batey IL, Wrigley CW (2006). «Wheat-gluten uses and industry needs». Trends in Food Science & Technology 17 (2): 82- 90. doi: 10.1016/j.tifs.2005.10.003.
- Molina-Infante J, Santolaria S, Sanders DS, Fernández-Bañares F (2015). «Systematic review: noncoeliac gluten sensitivity». Aliment Pharmacol Ther 41 (9): 807-20. PMID 25753138. doi: 10.1111/apt.13155.
- Bressan P, Kramer P (29 de marzo de 2016). «Bread and Other Edible Agents of Mental Disease». Front Hum Neurosci 10: 130. PMC 4809873. PMID 27065833. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00130.
- «Materiales en contacto con los alimentos». (9 de julio de 2019) Agencia Española de Consumo, Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición (AECOSAN)
- «REGLAMENTO (CE) Nº 1935/2004 DEL PARLAMENTO EUROPEO Y DEL CONSEJO, de 27 de octubre de 2004, sobre los materiales y objetos destinados a entrar en contacto con alimentos y por el que se derogan las Directivas 80/590/CEE y 89/109/CEE».