Warning over family favourite meal with fears roast dinners can contain 230,000 microplastic particles | The Sun

IT goes without saying that roast dinners are a family favourite for Brits with the much-loved dish long being part of our history.

But researchers have now issued a health warning after finding that the Sunday staple can contain 230,000 microplastic particles.

Experts claimed that eating a similar meal every day would result in swallowing the equivalent of two plastic bags a year.

The study was carried out by University of Portsmouth scientists and ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

Microplastics are miniscule plastic particles and are defined as smaller than 5mm long.

To see how many infiltrated food, GMB reporter Michelle Morrison and her children made two roast dinners with chicken, potatoes, carrots, broccoli and Yorkshire puddings. 

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However, one meal was made with ingredients that had all been bought wrapped in plastic while the second meal saw mostingredients purchased without any plastic packaging.

Experts revealed that the roast made with plastic-wrapped ingredients contained seven times more microplastics than the non-plastic food.

And the non-packaged items were not only healthier but value for money, costing 37% less than those bought wrapped.

The top researchers said that this study proved that packing is a major route for plastics getting into our bodies. 

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Dr Fay Couceiro, Reader in Environmental Pollution at the University of Portsmouth, explained: “From the results 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.”

Dr Couceiro added: “Usually food samples are analysed for microplastics in their raw state under laboratory conditions. This allows us to understand how much plastic is inside a particular type of food.

"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.”

It's unclear the harm posed by the microplastics found in a roast dinner but the findings warn against complacency.

Michelle Morrison from GMB said: "Previously there has been very little research into the amount of microplastics contained within an entire meal.

"Our new investigation has clearly found that we eat far less microplastics when we reduce the amount of packaging we buy.

"What we now need to know is – are these microplastics harmless? Or, like many believe, are they actually tiny plastic timebombs?"

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Tory MP Alberto Costa, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Microplastics, said that more research is needed to find out the extent it can affect our health.

He added: "We don’t yet know the effect this has on our health, but I would very much welcome more research and investigation."

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