London chef packaging campaign slammed

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

The FPA rejected claims that polystyrene packaging was unsafe and non-recyclable
The FPA rejected claims that polystyrene packaging was unsafe and non-recyclable
A campaign to ban polystyrene packaging in London by top chefs has been slammed by the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA).

It called the packaging material 100% food safe, resource efficient and had excellent functionality.

FPA executive director Martin Kersh said comments made by the chefs – lead by Ed Baines – were strange and misplaced, when they relied on expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging to keep their food fresh.

“The chefs have also failed to consider the full life cycle of EPS in their damning environmental assessment,”​ said Kersh.

“With regard to safety, the chefs have surely scored a huge own goal. EPS is non-toxic. It is chemically inert so fungi and bacteria are unable to grow on it.

‘Totally safe and hygienic’

“Foam packaging will not transfer germs and is totally safe and hygienic.

“Strawberries and wine contain styrene and we look forward to an announcement from the chefs to say that they will be removing both of these items from their menus.”

Kersh called for the campaigners to focus their “attack” ​on people who choose to litter EPS and not on the packaging itself.

He also dismissed claims by Ed Baines that it was not possible to recycle EPS packaging, pointing out that facilities exist in the UK, including one in Billingsgate.

‘Inaccurate comments’

“We strongly believe that the chefs involved should have first discussed the management of used EPS fish boxes with their waste management contractors, rather than issue these very inaccurate comments,”​ said Kersh.

“It’s a shame these superb chefs have focused their attentions on a single material which is 100% safe, is resource efficient and has excellent functional benefits.

“We have been delighted to work with the restaurant industry to achieve food waste reductions and would be pleased to work with them and the ​[Greater London Assembly] to achieve improvements in waste management.”

The open letter from Ed Baines ­­– co-signed by a number of top London chefs – called for London Mayor Sandiq Khan to issue a ban on polystyrene packaging in the capital.

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