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Article

Assessing Knowledge and Use Practices of Plastic Food Packaging among Young Adults in South Africa: Concerns about Chemicals and Health

1
Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
2
Pure and Applied Analytics (PAA), North-West University, Potchefstroom 2351, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Krystyna Gutkowska, Dominika Głąbska and Dominika Guzek
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10576; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010576
Received: 26 August 2021 / Revised: 25 September 2021 / Accepted: 28 September 2021 / Published: 9 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Lifestyle, Nutrition, Consumer Behavior and Family Health)
Chemicals associated with health problems can migrate from packaging into food matrices. Therefore, consumers need to be aware of health concerns associated with incorrectly used plastic food packaging. However, little is known about consumers’ knowledge and their plastics usage practices. This study assessed this knowledge and practices among young South African adult consumers. Our online survey of 293 participants focused on their objective (actual) and subjective (self-perceived) knowledge about plastic food packaging care and safety, their utilization practices, and their sources of information about safe use of plastics. Participants’ utilization practices showed broad misuse. Their subjective knowledge about the correct use of plastic packaging was in most respects contradicted by their limited objective knowledge. We found that plastic identification codes on packaging largely failed in their informative purpose; instead, participants mainly consulted informal information sources about plastics. The knowledge gaps, unsafe plastic use practices, and information source deficiencies identified here can help to guide future improvements. We call for consumer education, across all demographics, about plastic utilization practices and associated health concerns about plastic chemicals. We also highlight the need for the government, food and plastics industries to join forces in ensuring that consumers are informed about safe plastic packaging usage. View Full-Text
Keywords: plastic; food packaging; bisphenol A; consumer knowledge; health concern; information sources; utilization practices plastic; food packaging; bisphenol A; consumer knowledge; health concern; information sources; utilization practices
MDPI and ACS Style

Du Preez, M.; Van der Merwe, D.; Wyma, L.; Ellis, S.M. Assessing Knowledge and Use Practices of Plastic Food Packaging among Young Adults in South Africa: Concerns about Chemicals and Health. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 10576. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010576

AMA Style

Du Preez M, Van der Merwe D, Wyma L, Ellis SM. Assessing Knowledge and Use Practices of Plastic Food Packaging among Young Adults in South Africa: Concerns about Chemicals and Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(20):10576. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010576

Chicago/Turabian Style

Du Preez, Magdi, Daleen Van der Merwe, Louise Wyma, and Susanna Maria Ellis. 2021. "Assessing Knowledge and Use Practices of Plastic Food Packaging among Young Adults in South Africa: Concerns about Chemicals and Health" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 20: 10576. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010576

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