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Nothing says Thanksgiving like eating comforting food while surrounded by loved ones.  Follow these quick and easy tips to stop harmful chemicals from crashing your holiday meal:

Avoid canned foods when possible, or look for the BPA-Free Lining label

  • Even after years of studies on BPA and its harmful effects, many canned goods still contain BPA in their lining.  When you can, it’s safest to buy your must-have ingredients fresh or frozen.  Many foods that are traditionally in cans can also be found packaged in glass jars or in tetra packs (paperboard with a foil or wax lining). 
  • If the ingredients you’re looking for are only in cans, make sure to look closely at the label.  More and more companies are moving to BPA-free lining, and will label their products accordingly. 

Stay away from “grease-resistant” packaging and Teflon-coated cookware

  • The class of chemicals known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, has recently come under scrutiny for potentially causing a wide range of adverse health effects at incredibly small dosages.  These chemicals are used to create a water- and grease-resistant coating, and can therefore be found in a variety of food packaging, disposable products, and some non-stick cookware.
  • Some PFAS chemicals can stick around in your body for several years, so although food contact is not the most significant route of exposure, it’s important to avoid the build-up of these chemicals in your system.  Avoid buying disposable plates that are labeled as grease-resistant, and if you’re cooking anything at a high heat, use your stainless or cast iron cookware instead of Teflon.

Store your leftovers in safer plastics, and reheat in glass or ceramic

  • One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is the leftovers!  Make sure there’s no chemical seasoning added to your secret family recipes by using glass and ceramic where possible.  If you do need to store leftovers in plastic, make sure you’re using #1, #2, #4, or #5 plastics.
  • Even those safer plastics shouldn’t be used when you’re reheating your mashed potatoes, stuffing, and turkey, however.  Heat and steam can cause chemicals to migrate from plastic into your food.  Put your leftovers in a glass or ceramic dish before reheating!

These simple steps will help ensure that you can focus the rest of your holiday on your food, friends, and family.  Happy Thanksgiving!