Ground Control Parenting – Carol Sutton Lewis

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Parents: Important Health Warnings You Should Know About

Have you heard about the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and Ritz Bits recall? The new pediatric report on the dangers of chemicals from plastics? The following health related warnings released recently are of particular interest to parents:

1. Food Recalls: Parents, check your kitchen cabinets! Two snack food companies have had to recall some of their products due to their potential salmonella contamination from whey powder supplied by a Minnesota diary company. A few days ago, Mondelez International, makers of Ritz crackers, recalled several of its snacks, including Ritz Bits Cheese, Ritz Cheese Cracker sandwiches, and mixed cookie variety packs which include to-go sized packages of Ritz Bits. A full list of the Mondelez recalled items can be found here. Pepperidge Farm has recalled several of their Goldfish crackers, including the Flavor Blasted Xtra Cheddar, Flavor Blasted Sour Cream & Onion, Goldfish Baked with Whole Grain Xtra Cheddar, and Goldfish Mix Xtra Cheddar + Pretzel. Their complete list of snack foods to avoid can be found here. If you find any of these snacks in your kitchen pantry, dump them.

2. Harmful Chemicals in Food and Food Packaging: The American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued warnings about the need for to limit children’s exposures to certain chemicals in food and food packaging. These chemicals, which include nitrates and nitrites (used as preservatives), phthalates and perchlorates (used to make plastic packaging), bisphenols (used to line metal cans for canned food products), have been shown to interfere with the normal hormone development of the hormones responsible for brain development, development of the sex organs, and normal metabolic functions. Yikes.

The good news is that families can immediately take steps to reduce their children’s chemical exposure. The pediatrics group report suggests families do the following:

–Prioritize the consumption of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables whenever possible.

–Avoid processed meats, especially during pregnancy.

–Avoid microwaving food or beverages — including infant formula and pumped breast milk — in plastic containers, and don’t put plastic food containers in the dishwasher.

–Use alternatives to plastic, like glass or stainless steel, whenever possible.

–Check the recycling code on the bottom of products and avoid plastics with recycling codes 3, 6 and 7, which may contain phthalates, styrene and bisphenols, unless they are labeled “biobased” or “greenware,” indicating they’re made from corn and do not contain bisphenols.

–Wash hands before handling food and drinks, and wash all fruits and vegetables that aren’t peeled.

You can read more about the Academy’s statement and technical report in the New York Times article about it here.

GCP Parents, it is important that we stay on top of these new developments which can impact our children’s health. As the old saying goes, Knowledge is Power!

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