Jar health risk played down

Greece’s food safety board yesterday downplayed fears of a major health threat posed by chemicals used in screw caps for jars and bottles containing packaged food and drinks. This followed an announcement by the European Food Safety Authority that semicarbazide, a carcinogen, may have been found in some plastic-sealing gaskets used in the lids of glass jars and some packaged foods. «There is no cause for excessive consumer concern, and for the time being, European authorities have not proposed any particular precautions,» the Hellenic Food Authority (EFET) said in a statement. EFET Chairwoman Christina Papanikolaou told Kathimerini that semicarbazide might have leaked into foods during the sealing process, when jars are heated. «We want food that keeps for a long time, can be easily transported and, to boot, tastes good and looks nice,» she said. «To achieve all that, technology is used. But as the food chain becomes more complicated, the risks multiply.»