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Food Safety Focus (119th Issue, June 2016) – Food Incident Highlight

Disposable PET Bottles and Food Safety

Plastic water bottles and containers designed for reuse purpose are readily available in the market. Yet, some people may choose to refill disposable PET bottles for the sake of convenience, money saving, environment protection, etc. PET bottles (a triangular arrow symbol around the number 1 printed on the bottom of bottle) are safe for holding beverages but there are quite a few things that the public should pay attention to when refilling them.

Disposable PET bottles, intended for single use, may not be as durable as bottles designed purposely for reuse. Concerns on reusing disposable PET bottles include deformation, hygiene, and chemical migration. PET bottles may be deformed by hot beverages over 70oC. Damaged bottles should not be reused. Moreover, PET bottles should be cleaned and air-dried thoroughly to prevent bacterial growth. Lastly, PET bottles should be refilled on a like-for-like basis to prevent excessive chemical migration. For instance, a PET bottle for water should only be reused for water but not other liquids such as vinegar or oil.