Allergy Alert: Eco-Friendly Straws/Containers, Diapers, Wipes

compostable containers

Did you ever think you would see a “paper” plate labeled Gluten-Free but made of wheat and corn? Or a straw made out of wheat?  A plastic wrapper or container made out of casein (a protein in Milk)?  How about wheat in disposable diapers or soy and oats in hand wipes?  Well, now you need to think about the packaging and more! It is happening now with companies banning plastic straws, etc;  we all need to be vigilant.

There is a need for echo friendly, bio-degradable containers. However, this comes with a danger to those with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease.  I have talked about this over the years with customers in the cafe and was motivated to write about this very issue after a customer was in the restaurant and ripped into me for using too much plastic. I tried explaining that we can’t use those echo friendly products due to the allergens in them.

The customer is also a Vegan and accused us of supporting animal cruelty.  She enjoyed her meal, but could not get over the use of plastic. She wanted to bring in her own items, Tupperware, glass bottle, etc. I have no way of knowing if she just had peanut butter and then touched her containers, so I would not allow it. Then she rated us on Yelp (public shaming us for using plastic). She went on to play games by editing and deleting some of her original comments and also deleting her second response thus deleting my second response.

I tried explaining that the plastic is the safest thing for us due to allergies and we need to prevent cross contact when people are dining in house or carrying food out.  Further explanation included the fact that we are in a Gold Leed Certified Building, recycle about 95% of what we use and have 3 electric car charging stations on the side of the building.  She just could not understand that the customer’s safety (and their life) depend on me sticking to my mission; to welcome those in need safely back to the table!

This spurred me to write a post on Facebook about the ingredients in compostable containers and boy did you all weigh in with your comments! So, here we go.

Edible Milk Based Packaging: “sustainable, biodegradable, edible and “safe”!   Safe for who?  Looking at it, you would think it was plastic…check it out here 

Wheat Straw Plates, Bowls, Paper Bags, Utensils: “looking for dinner ware that screams green?” There are so many brands and some say that the wheat protein is processed out, but it is scary for someone with a wheat allergy! Gluten Free Watchdog tested World Centrics brand and they appeared to be safe for Celiacs, not sure if I would take the chance with a wheat allergy.  What happens when the product gets wet? They look kind of like a “chinet” plate, but not white….check it out here

Straws: “sturdy and compostable”  There are many different brands, made from wheat, hay, corn, etc. Heat safe to 140 degrees, my concern is what happens to the allergen when the straw is breaking down under heat or long exposure to a liquid.  A Celiac customer said her local coffee place was using the wheat ones, which she did not know and was sick for a long time until she figured it out. click here  then click on “Benefits” to see the ingredients.

Diapers: “eco friendly disposable diapers, made of wheat and corn”. There are 5 brands in this link….check them all out here

Wipes: read the ingredients, I have seen them with wheat, soy, oats and more gang!

I am all for “green” products, but we need to make sure that they are safe for us. Right now, the FDA does not require manufacturers to list the top allergens on packaging products, so you have to do your research.  Also, they are being made by so many different companies and they all look different. You need to be aware and ask!

eco straws