Evaluation of Plastic Particle Contamination in Cheese
- Challenge: Cardno ChemRisk® was contacted by a cheese manufacturer to assess the public health risk posed by polypropylene plastic particles that had broken off the food processing equipment and contaminated several batches of bulk cheese. The manufacturer was interested in assessing whether the presence of plastic in the cheese constituted a health hazard for consumers and whether a recall for the potentially contaminated batches of cheese should be issued.
- Approach: Cardno ChemRisk performed a thorough review of the literature regarding the toxicity of polypropylene plastic and performed a risk assessment related to the potential health hazards from consuming the contaminated cheese.
- Findings: Based on the literature review and risk assessment, Cardno ChemRisk determined that due to subsequent processing of the cheese, the presence of plastic particles posed minimal toxicological risk. No recall was issued.
- Value: In addition to concluding that the contaminant posed no toxicological effect, Cardno ChemRisk advised the company about the physical hazards associated with the plastics and steps to further reduce risk.