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Paper Straw Safety

What is different about Aardvark paper straws?

  • Made in USA from virgin Kraft Paper by Aardvark
  • Biodegradable & compostable to American standards.
  • Aardvark is the original inventor and patent holder for drinking straws in 1888
  • Are Aardvark striped paper straws safe for food contact?
  • Aardvark uses ink with colorants and ingredients that have been recognized as safe for direct food contact by the FDA (Food & Drug Authority)
  • These straws are BPA FREE

Are Chinese paper straws safe to use? The risk rests with the Australian consumer

Most food packaging safety regulations in Australia commonly leave the responsibility for safety up to the importer and or the manufacturer of the product and also refer to the more developed standards of the American Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Our purchasing team has contacted 5 different Chinese paper straw manufacturers and their re-sellers and requested documentation about food safety of their coloured paper straw products. All of the manufacturers and re-sellers we contacted claimed that a residue test of soluble extractives according to FDA 21 CFR 176.170 would be equivalent to an “FDA approval”.

Under FDA regulations, a residue test according to FDA 21 CFR 176.170 is not an FDA approval for any material to be in direct food contact, merely an indication of how much of a possible contaminant could be emitted by a substance or material and possibly ingested by a user of such material.

A passing of the residue test is then wrongly referred to as “FDA approval”. This is incorrect because a residue test only screens for a small variety of known contaminants like arsenic, lead, mercury and heavy metals and cannot determine food safety of all chemicals or printing inks.

Generally all substances which are not listed in the GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) list by the FDA are not permitted to be in direct food contact unless they have received the official approval or “notification” by the FDA.

FDA approval (notification) for a particular substance to be in direct food contact is given on a case to case basis for each substance after careful consideration of toxicity and long-term effects of each chemical and ingredient after possible ingestion. Ink used in the production of Aardvark paper straws has undergone this stringent and extensive test and achieved “approval” for each ingredient of its ink. A residue test according to FDA 21 CFR is not a substitute for such approval.

To date we have not received satisfying evidence from any Chinese paper straw supplier that they use FDA approved ink in their production. One supplier provided a material safety data sheet of reflective metallic paint used for metal coating. The data sheet stated that the paint/ink should not come in contact with food.

One supplier provided documentation stating that “some” of the colorants of the ink used in its Chinese production was fit for cosmetic purposes (not for direct food contact).

We believe that residue tests according to FDA 21 CFR are wrongfully mis-interpreted by manufacturers as well as re-sellers as being an FDA approval of substances which should not normally come in contact with food.

Australian legislation does not require paper straws and other goods to conform with the FDA standard, but rests liability with the importer and/or manufacturer of the products and the health risk with the Australian consumer….

The Soy Ink misinterpretation

Soy inks are commonly referred to as being environmentally friendly and non-toxic. It is common belief that something manufatcured from a plant does not pose a health risk. The truth is however, that soy based inks can be just as toxic as any other ink due to the type of colorants, oxides and other additives used. Soy based inks are not generally safe just because they have one soy based ingredient. The misinterpretation is wrongfully used by suppliers and manufacturers to market a potentially hazardous product to unsuspecting consumers.