Thursday, July 24, 2003

Wrap it up

Coming soon to a lunchbox near you: baggies you can eat. Chemists have come up with an edible food wrapping that you can gobble right along with your sandwich, and it may be on the market by the end of the year. The paper-like wrapping, which can also be used on frozen foods and then cooked, is made of compressed fruits and vegetables and is intended to cut down on the plastics and foils that get tossed in the trash. Even if your kids refuse to eat their broccoli-flavored wrap, the stuff is biodegradable, so won't last long in a landfill.

The well-meaning food chemists behind this are touting it as a nutritional as well as an environmental breakthrough, since the wrappings count as a fruit or vegetable serving, but you just know once these things are actually for sale, marketing departments will legislate that they be made in more kid-friendly flavors than carrot, tomato and papaya. Before you know it, they'll be neon-colored, sugar-packed, zingy-flavored and nutrient free, and kids will be eating the wrappers and throwing away the sandwich. Better living through chemistry! Or something like that.

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