The number of pre-prepared meals being handled by individuals on a daily basis has grown hugely in recent years. From children bringing their lunches to school, to professionals bringing cooked or prepared lunches to work, the prevalence of the pre-prepared meal has never been so obvious. However, there exists a worrying ignorance surrounding the storage of these pre-prepared meals. Ask 100 office workers what kind of storage container they use for their lunch and the vast majority will say a plastic box. This might be fine, but unfortunately all too many of us are unaware of the dangers that plastic lunch containers might present.
Have you ever been told not to drink water from a plastic bottle that has been left in the sun all day? If not, you should have been. The problem here is that plastic containers can release certain chemicals into the food they are storing. Certain actions can exacerbate this situation, such as exposure to direct sunlight, or even putting these containers into the microwave. While there does exist a small market of plastic containers free from these leaky chemicals, they are few and far between, and rarely used.
So what is the alternative? Should we all just stop making pre-prepared meals? Of course not. Alternatives exist, and they are reasonably straightforward to implement. Inexpensive glass lunch boxes and containers are available in many places, and while these might prove slightly heavier than their plastic alternatives, they offer peace of mind that no harmful chemicals are making their way into your food.
Another alternative is to bring your food in a ceramic bowl from home, covered in cling film or aluminium foil. Again, this might prove slightly more hassle than a cheap plastic lunch box, but there exists no risk of exposure to contamination. Going one step further, you could even pick up a pack of disposable paper plates, depending on what your pre-prepared meal is. Disposable paper plates are extremely cheap, and have the added benefit of being recyclable. Again, using these with cling film or aluminium foil can avoid contact with these cheap, harmful plastics.
Ultimately, you should not be put off by the risk of plastic contamination. The warnings are there not to scare people into changing their habits, but to simply raise awareness of the potential risks. These risks are minimal, but with the right storage options, you need not worry any more!