Roast Dinners 'equivalent' of eating two plastic bags a year thanks to microplastics

Roast dinners could be the equivalent of eating two plastic bags a year (Canva) <i>(Image: Canva)</i>
Roast dinners could be the equivalent of eating two plastic bags a year (Canva) (Image: Canva)

Research has found that eating a classic roast dinner every single day could be the equivalent of eating two plastic bags a year.

This is because microplastics (microscopic plastic particles) coming from packaging can get into our food and onto our plates.

The issue of microplastics in food has long been speculated on with seafood lovers being found to consume up to 11,000 plastic particles a year by consuming foods like muscles.

The impact on humans is not completely understood but the phenomenon has raised some concerns.

Researchers over at Portsmouth University and ITV's Good Morning Britain found that the popular Sunday staple could contain 230,000 microplastics.

They found that consuming a similar meal every day would be the equivalent of consuming two plastic bags a year.

To find out how many microplastics reached our belies from roast dinners made from packaged foods, GMB reporter Michelle Morrison and her children made two meals.

The dinners, which included chicken, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and Yorkshire puddings, involved one being made with packaged goods and another using item mostly without plastic packaging.

The segment found that the dinner using plastic packaging has seven times more microplastics than the less packaged dinner.

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Dr. Faye Coucerio, an environmental pollution expert at Portsmouth University, said: "It would appear that the majority of microplastics in our food come from the plastic packaging it is wrapped in.

"However, there are other ways that plastic can enter the food chain. It could be getting into the vegetables through the soil or into our meat through grazing.

Air has lots of microplastics in it too so they could be falling on top of the food. And finally, it could be from the cooking utensils used when preparing a meal."

They added: "Usually food samples are analysed for microplastics in their raw state under laboratory conditions.

"This study differs because we chose to look at what was actually on your plate after the food had been cooked.

"Instead of a sterile laboratory, the food was cooked in a normal kitchen so it is likely the microplastics will come from a combination of within the food, the packaging, cooking utensils and the air."

People urged to not panic about microplastics... yet

However, despite these findings, a gastroenterology expert at Hull University Teaching Hospital, Professor Shaji Sebastian said: "Am I frightened? No. But it could be a cause for concern if we do nothing.

"The question is whether it stays there once ingested. Research shows it gets into the bloodstream but does it go to other organs?"

Adding: "The results of this investigation are surprising and make research into the impacts of microplastics on the human body all the more urgent."