Microplastics in the Food Chain

Life (Basel). 2021 Dec 6;11(12):1349. doi: 10.3390/life11121349.


Currently, microplastics represent a widespread contamination found in almost every part of the environment. The plastic industry has generated waste since the 1950s, which unfortunately now counts in the millions. The largest share of plastic consumption is used to produce packaging materials, including those applied in the food industry. The versatility of plastic materials is mainly due to their lightness, flexibility, strength, and persistence. Although plastic materials are widely used due to their beneficial properties, contamination of the environment with microplastics and nanoplastics is an emerging problem worldwide. This type of contamination is endangering animal life and thus also the food chain and public health. This review summarizes the knowledge about microplastics in the food chain. The effect of microplastics on the food chain has been particularly studied in marine organisms, and research deals less with other food commodities. Therefore, based on the studied literature, we can conclude that the issue is still not sufficiently examined, and should be paid more attention to maintain the health of the population.

Keywords: food chain; health; microorganisms; microplastics; organic pollutants.

Publication types

  • Review