Lactose Intolerance Means Edible Wrappers Could Be A Problem, But Not For Landfills

Lactose intolerance is something many suffer from, turning a fully enjoyable bowl of ice cream into a gas problem in mere minutes. As such, a new technology for edible wrappers might reduce landfill clutter, but won’t be so nice for those who can’t digest milk.

Yes, Lactaid and other dietary supplement pills can aid in the digestion of dairy products, but it doesn’t fix the problem entirely. There is still a percentage of dairy which the pills won’t affect, and often leads to many with lactose intolerance to resort to taking two at a time.

However, it has been discovered that using milk-based edible wrappers could reduce landfill. The reason why plastic even makes it to landfill is due to two major factors. Some of us are just inattentive or lazy and throw our recyclable items in with the garbage. The other factor which often affects plastic wrappers is that the smoke from breaking down malleable plastics adds to environmental issues such as global warming.

This factor is the number one reason why China doesn’t accept a majority of the plastic we attempt to recycle anymore. Their own pollution is so overwhelming that they are rejecting our malleable plastics, such as food wrappers, and it all ends up in landfills.

According to Seeker, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently working on a transparent film made with milk. For those who don’t suffer from lactose intolerance, this could be a step toward letting our planet heal itself.

The edible wrapper is made with a milk protein called casein, and citrus pectin or glycerol to make it more resistant to humidity. Without the citrus element, the wrapper would instantly dissolve when it gets wet. Imagine you just went shopping and bought a paper bag full of foodstuff wrapped in casein. If it rains while you’re carrying the food inside your home, or if there is a heavy fog out, that wrapper could be dissolved quickly and you would need to eat most of it quickly before it goes bad.

Of course this is the part where the edible wrapper actually trumps plastic. Food wrapped in plastic doesn’t always last as long as you might want, while the edible plastic tends to keep the food longer, being an almost literal organic shell. The same principle goes with vegetables. If you avoid cutting it up too early, the skin actually helps it last longer in the refrigerator.

Though bad news those with lactose intolerance, the edible wrapper can actually make using the food within easier. There is no more need to grab a pair of scissors or a steak knife to break through that troublesome barrier, as the edible wrapper will actually dissolve in water. According to Popular Science, you can literally throw it right into boiling water and forget it. In fact, the water might even help dilute the milk protein to the point where lactose intolerance isn’t as much of a factor.

For those of us who can’t digest milk, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is also planning to clearly label food products which use these edible wrappers, and primarily use them only on dairy products. If you’re buying fish dinners, and there isn’t dairy used in the process of seasoning them, you will probably be buying the original plastic wrapping.

This could also be problematic for vegans, who oppose the use of even products derived from anything with a face. In this case, vegans and those with lactose intolerance will be the most affected.

This marvel in food packaging technology has yet to go into production, but when it does, it will have a positive impact on the environment.

[Image via Adisa/]

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