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More research is necessary, claims one environmental toxicologist

New ‘spray-on wrapper’ might be a plastic-free food packaging alternative

A collaboration of scientists from Rutgers and Harvard University has resulted in a biodegradable spray-on food wrapper. The researchers believe this wrapper can preserve the shelf-life of food, reduce food and plastic waste, and increase food safety.

Huibin Chang, a research associate in bioengineering at Harvard University who was involved in the development of the wrapper, said: “Food waste and food safety are among the major concerns in our society, especially in the period of Covid-19.”

The spray on wrapper’s main ingredient is pullulan, an edible fiber that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “generally recognize[s] as safe” (GRAS). The mixture of the biodegradable polymer and non-toxic solvents can be rinsed off with water.

However, Nishad Jayasundara, an environmental toxicologist at Duke University who was not involved in the study, encourages further research into how these materials break down and their environmental impact. According to Jayasundra, additional research is needed to determine whether the ‘rinsing’ method of disposal of the spray-on wrapper causes the initial nontoxic materials to break down in potentially harmful ways.


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