In a review published on June 19, 2021, in the Journal of Food Science, Mengke Jin and co-authors from Dalian University of Technology, China, summarize human exposure concentrations to microplastics via food and beverage consumption.
The authors reviewed 108 publications available on Web of Science up to the year 2021 and extracted information on the occurrence, source, and characterization of microplastics found in fish, bivalves, salt, drinking water, beverages, packaged food, honey, sugar, fruit and vegetables, chicken, and canned sardines (FPF reported here, here, and here). According to the literature analysis, detected microplastic levels in previous studies were, for instance, 0-11 particles/gram bivalves and 0-14 particles/kg salt while particle concentrations in one liter of tap and bottled water were 0-61 and 0-6292, respectively. In the article, the scientists attributed the large concentration differences to the locally varying microplastic pollution. The sources of microplastic contamination in aquatic food products, drinking water, and salt were summarized to be contaminated marine and freshwater (FPF reported), whereas the microplastics in plastic packaged food can stem from the packaging itself as well as the procedure of opening it. The article also reports on the capability of microplastics to penetrate different plant parts resulting in fruit and vegetable contamination. According to the authors, the amount of microplastic intake by an individual largely depends on eating habits, diet, and the country and region in which they live.
Food Packaging Forum, 24 June 2021