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Food desiccant is widely used as an "invisible killer"

Puffed food, nuts, seaweed... Among various packaged foods well known to consumers, food desiccants are widely used to prevent food from moisture.


Most people have "inedible" cognition about the desiccant in packaged food, but the reason is unknown. It is the most common practice for most people to throw away after a look. However, there are no small safety hazards in this bag of desiccant.


Accidental injuries to children caused by desiccant are common. Recently, a boy in Jiangxi burst after mixing food desiccant with water. After accidentally splashing into his eyes, his conjunctiva and eyelid muscles will be burned and may even be blind.


On November 14, Gong Xia, a professor and biochemistry expert at the school of tourism and food of Shanghai business school, told surging news that most consumers have limited understanding of desiccants and their potential dangers are often ignored. In order to save costs, some businesses often use quicklime as food desiccants, resulting in potential safety hazards. "Food enterprises should mark clear tips on the outer packaging of desiccants". She believes that quicklime food desiccant has serious potential safety hazards and should be eliminated by the market.


Quicklime mixed with water can cause blindness


According to CCTV news on November 13, recently, a 5-year-old boy in Jiangxi poured quicklime desiccant in seaweed into a bottle and blew bubbles with water. After shaking, it burst. The splashed liquid caused edema and peeling of the boy's face in just two minutes, severe burns to the conjunctiva and eyelid muscles of his right eye, and may be blind.


It is found that after pouring quicklime desiccant into the beaker and adding water, its pH value reaches 14, which belongs to strong alkali solution. The temperature of the solution can rise to 80 ℃ in only a few minutes.


If a sealed container is used, after violent shaking, the pressure may flush the container and spray it on the skin, which will cause serious damage.


Deng Yan, the boy's attending doctor, deputy chief physician of children's ophthalmology of the Second Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, said in an interview with CCTV that the boy's facial burns will slowly recover, while the burns in the eyeballs are more difficult. If alkaline substances continue to leak into the cornea (such as eyelid chamber, lens and intraocular), the eyeballs will slowly dissolve and lead to blindness.


Gong Xia told surging news that calcium oxide reacts sharply with water to produce a strongly alkaline chemical calcium hydroxide. It has strong penetration and can destroy cell tissue. If you accidentally enter the eye, it will lead to corneal conjunctival necrosis and perforation, affect vision, and even blindness. Even if you do surgery, it is difficult to recover your original vision.


"Many consumers only know that the desiccant can't be eaten, but they don't know the reason, not to mention the consequences of mixing quicklime with water. As a food enterprise, it should also mark clear tips on the outer packaging of the desiccant," Gong Xia said.


Enterprises should pay more attention to the safety of desiccant


As an alternative product of quicklime desiccant, silica gel desiccant has been gradually "favored" in recent years. Its main component is silica, non-toxic, non corrosive and stable in shape.


According to the Beijing Evening News, silica gel desiccant is also the only type of desiccant recognized by the EU, but for food production enterprises, the cost of silica gel desiccant is higher than quicklime.


Gong Xia said that some businesses often use quicklime in order to save costs, resulting in a series of potential safety hazards. Food enterprises should first consider the safety of desiccant, followed by the interests and costs. Quicklime desiccant has serious potential safety hazards and should be eliminated by the market.


Because children are curious and unfamiliar with desiccant, they are likely to eat by mistake. If it is a colorless and transparent ball, it belongs to silica gel desiccant. Silica gel cannot be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and can be excreted through feces. Generally speaking, it is not toxic to human body. But in addition, we should also be alert to the possibility of asphyxia in children caused by silica gel particles.


If you eat quicklime desiccant by mistake, the greatest harm is that calcium oxide (quicklime) reacts with water to release heat, which will cause esophageal burns or skin burns. Wash with clean water immediately, drink water to dilute and induce vomiting, reduce absorption in the body, and then be hospitalized as soon as possible.