Scotland's latest takeaway food is bad for you, but the packaging is worse
As a proud Scot, who has lived in and travelled to many other parts of the world, I'm used to defending my nation's often questionable diet choices. (FYI, haggis tastes great and black pudding is actually a superfood). So imagine my dismay when, just when everyone seems to have forgotten about deep-fried Mars Bars, along comes the munchie box.
If you're not familiar with this latest trend in takeaway meals, the munchie box looks something like this:
Basically it contains a range of fast food favourites, typically several kinds of kebab meat, chips, pizza and battered Chinese food. It may or may not come with a token salad — but it doesn't really matter; it would take a lot more than a few lettuce leaves and cherry tomatoes to counteract the effects of this bad boy.
Given the thousands of calories and bucketloads of crap that's in the grease-laden food it's been labelled a "heart attack in a box." However it's the packaging that's made the news this week.
Munchie boxes usually come served in pizza boxes, which sometimes contain chemicals that have been linked to cancer.
Such chemicals have been banned by authorities in the U.S. for this reason.
According to the Daily Record, the compounds — perfluoroalkyl ethyl, also known as perfluorochemicals (PFCs) — are present in the grease-resistant coating on the boxes, which stops them going soggy.
But cancer isn't the only thing to worry about. The Daily Record has also reported that PFCs can mutate sexual organs in snails, triggering fears it may do the same in humans. Scottish marine biology expert Dr. Mark Hartl also revealed the chemicals in the boxes may cause genetic disruptions in children.
Hartl said a study had shown similar chemicals called perfluoroalkyls "inhibited an enzyme important in female sexual development," adding that it caused "a build-up of testosterone in female snails, leading to masculinised females who grew penises".
Watchdog Food Standards Scotland said EU laws cover food packaging in Scotland, which all suppliers of paper board pizza boxes are required to comply with.