Health Director Jeff Stephens (right) displays a food storage container to Board of Health members. Beside him is Seth Lajoie, environmental services manager. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

Health Staffers Seek Solution to Food Storage Container Snag [VIDEO INCLUDED]

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Board of Health members Joanne Belanger, Sue Hanly, Zac Cataldo, and Stephanie Granger. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

Board of Health members (from left) Joanne Belanger, Sue Hanly, Zac Cataldo, and Stephanie Granger. PHOTO BY JOYCE PELLINO CRANE

 

Pizza shops in town are seeking to replace polystyrene containers with ones that are free of the chemical. (Scroll past the video to continue reading.)

But Board of Health staff members are finding one solution is leading to another set of problems. The cardboard lids used to cover aluminum storage containers are not transparent. That leads to customers lifting the cardboard to see what’s contained inside, potentially contaminating the food, said Health Director Jeff Stephens at the Board of Health meeting on Dec. 11.

“Now my issue with the cardboard lids is if you’re selling a product that’s going to go home and go in the oven in this you don’t want to have this covered so they can’t see inside…,” Stephens said. “I don’t want people opening containers of food they’re not going to buy. And you don’t know who opened it, therefore you could be spreading other disease.”

A regulation banning polystyrene containers was approved by voters in 2016 and went into effect on July 1. Owners of food establishments who requested a variance have six months to deplete their stock of polystyrene containers.

Styrene is an organic compound known as ethenylbenzene, vinylbenzene, and phenylethene. Polystyrene is an inexpensive plastic material that is easily shaped and formed when air is added to styrene.