This is a new challenge: according to media reports microplastics have been found in fish, animal stomachs, beer, honey and sugar. Recently, some scientists found microplastics in Fleur de Sel – those precious minerals, manually produced and used in the gourmet kitchen. For the sensitized public, it is time for us to objectify this discussion …..
Did you already noticed the plastic waste when walking along the beach? Did you already observed how many plastics is used for fruit and vegetables in the retail? People are unreflective using thermoformed packs or those small thin plastics to wrap single pieces of fruits. Even Organic products are unanimous packed in plastic!
Despite of recycling quotas and joint initiatives of retail, people are using 558 kg of plastics per year and person. Those materials are now found in waste and water. Plastic does not come solely from food packaging:
it is used in cosmetics, in sportspersons dresses and even in baby diapers. Plastic gets into the sea water and in ground water, they disintegrate themselves, form sediments or just swim on the surface of the sea. Meanwhile, plastic parts get back into the food chain.
The daily intake is unknown because there are no valuable test methods by now. The „Institut für Biologie und Chemie des Meeres“ of the German University of Oldenburg now developped a new way of analysing and found for the first 138 µg und 1796 µg mikroplastic per Kilogramm of Fleur de Sel. (Ein µg = 0,001 Milligramm). We do not know whether this method is already validated.
Fleur de Sel is a natural product – and as every natural product – influenced by the nature and environment. This is what consumers normally like – because this makes the difference to industrial products with or without artificial additives. Because nature makes a difference in taste and appearance.
Fleur de Sel is derived from salty sea water, becoming crystallized by sun in flat natural pools. The sea salt plantations are situated in the warm regions of Europe, as Greece, Italy or France. Because they can use the sun and the heat to derive sea salt.
Fleur de Sel are „salt flakes“, salt flowers, set down in the morning on the surface of the sea water. It is manually “harvested” and has to be gently processed, packed and transported, to maintain the structure of flakes.
In contrary to sea salt, Fleur de Sel is not washed after drying, this may be the reason that sea salt is not affected by micro plastic in the same manner.
Fleur de Sel counts to Gourmet Salts and is used because of the sea minerals in Organic Foodstuff. In Germany we use approx. 30 mt per year – approx. 0,007 % of food salt.
The Association of Salt wholesalers in Germany requests in its statements of January 2018 to be objective: the daily intake of salt is between 6 g and 8 g per Person, whereas 75 % is derived from ready-to-eat food. The food processors do not use Fleur de Sel in those products, due to cost reasons. The consumer himself only uses 2 g for preparing his own food. And only a small part of this 2 g might be Fleur de Sel: because it is only used in special dishes and for special purposes.
Because values are low and datas are rare, the German Institut for Risk Assessment (BFR) cannot conduct a risk analyses. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is the same. As long as a risk analyses is missing, there is no valuable information about the effects of microplastics in food. Therefore there are no limits or thresholds from the legislators.
The facts are speaking for themselves and we should not turn a blind eye to the consequences of using too much plastics. The contamination of the sea is a social issue. Therefore, industry and consumers should try to reduce plastics and – if unavoidable – combust it in the right way.
All data given are according to our todays knowledge or opinion. They are without obligation.