Microplastics are everywhere, including in some of our favorite foods. These tiny pieces of plastic smaller than 5 millimeters in size are byproducts of the wear and tear of plastics in our environment. From trash in the oceans to household products we use every day, all plastics eventually break down and can make their way onto our plate.
Some foods are becoming notorious for microplastic content, plus nanoplastics under 1,000 nanometers in size. Read on to learn which foods you’re eating might contain plastic in every bite.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) claims that “plastic is the most prevalent type of marine debris in the ocean” and in the American Great Lakes. There’s so much microplastic in the sea it’s no wonder why sea animals are ingesting it. Unfortunately, that means people who eat seafood are also eating the microplastics found in these animals.
Shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks and fish are currently some of the highest sources of plastic in our food chain. Seafood like prawns, wild squid, oysters, blue crabs, and clams could all contain tiny bits of plastic that end up in your meals.
When it comes to which fish or seafood has the highest concentration of microplastics, sardines land at the top of the list. A recent study of commercial-value Australian seafood found the highest amount of microplastics were in sardines, out of the varieties of seafood studied. Their results showed that up to 30 mg of plastic could be in each 100-gram serving of sardines.
Other seafood in this study included oysters, squid, tiger prawns and crab. The seafood from this list with the lowest amount of plastic was squid, with a contraction of about 0.7 mg of plastic per 100 gram serving.