Ripe Bites: May Food News & Products

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine

Your Key To a Stylish, Stainless Steel Lunch

The Blue Water Bento Splash Box ($22.50) from ECOlunchbox provides a sleek, stainless-steel alternative to plastic lunch containers. Sporting a 3-cup capacity, the Splash Box features a water-tight silicone lid, which allows you to toss it into a lunch bag, backpack, or briefcase with no worries about leaking. Lightweight and dishwasher safe, the Splash Box is a great environmentally friendly pick for lunch.

The earth-friendly alternative to sandwich bags

Sick of using countless sandwich and snack bags for your kids’ lunches? spbang reusable snack bags ($9.99) were created by a mom inventor who was tired of throwing out plastic baggies and could never get reusable fabric bags clean. spbang’s environmentally friendly bags are crafted with food-safe material that contains no lead, BPA, or phthalates. Dishwasher-safe, the bag also sports a spot where parents can write a note to kids with a non-permanent marker.

Two super dishwashing products 

Boon has released two super useful products for anyone on dishwashing duty. The Forb Mini ($11.99) is a colorful soap-dispensing brush made of tough silicone petals. Great for cleaning toddler dishes and adult non-stick cookware, it’s also an alternative to nylon bristles and sponges that leave scratches.

The Span ($11.99) is the perfect companion for the top rack of a dishwasher stacked with tiny cups, lids, and assorted eating and drinking accessories. Span hooks onto the dishwasher rack, and its stretchy silicone spreads like a superhero cape over everything to keep it all held firmly in place.

Mars to Remove All Artificial Color From Products

Food manufacturer Mars, Inc. has announced it will remove all artificial colors from its “human food” products as part of a “commitment to meet evolving consumer preferences.”

Some of the company’s “human food products” include mega candy brands M&Ms, Snickers, Twix, 3 Musketeers, the non-candy Uncle Ben’s line, and more.

Changes will be made incrementally across Mars’ chocolate, gum, confection, food and drink businesses over the next five years.

“Eliminating all artificial colors from our human food portfolio is a massive undertaking, and one that will take time and hard work to accomplish,” said Mars President and CEO Grant F. Reid. “Our consumers are the boss and we hear them. If it’s the right thing to do for them, it’s the right thing to do for Mars.”

Study: BPA-free Plastic May Still Be Risky

The Washington Post reports that BPA-alternative Bisphenol S (BPS), used in some products advertised as “BPA-free,” may have the same potentially harmful effects as the chemical it was meant to replace.

A study published in the journal Endocrinology compared the effects of BPA and BPS on zebrafish embryos, and noted that “BPS seemed to be acting as an endocrine disrupter, just as BPA did,” The Post wrote.

The newspaper notes that “many” in endocrinology are concerned that the chemicals could be tied to a host of human issues: cancers of the reproductive organs, premature births, early puberty, and genital malformation, just to name a few.

Small changes can make a huge difference! 

By Leslie Reichert

When we think of all the different things that stress the Earth, it’s hard to believe that what we do inside our homes can really make a difference. Making a few changes in your family’s habits may not seem like you’re doing much to help our environment. But try multiplying those small changes by the number of homes in the U.S., and you’ll start to see where we can make an impact.

There are 115 million households in the U.S., so when we multiply a small change by that number, everything becomes impactful.

Here’s an example of one change that could make a real difference to our water system. The EPA Website states the average home in the U.S. uses 400 gallons of water every day and 108 gallons of that goes down the toilet. If you are using a “lazy man’s” toilet cleaner (meaning you put something in the tank that adds a chemical every time your flush) you are tainting 108 gallons of water with a cleaning chemical every day. By switching to an all-natural toilet bowl cleaner, you can remove toxins in 25% of the water you are using in your home. If we could get everyone to switch to a greener toilet bowl cleaner, we could remove toxins from 12.5 billions of gallons of water every day!

Here are some other simple things you can do in your home that will make a difference to you, your family, and the Earth.

• Your bathroom faucet puts out two gallons of water a minute. If you brush your teeth for the recommended two minutes and leave the water running while you brush, you are wasting four gallons of water. An average family of four can save 11,680 gallons of water every year by turning off the water while they brush.

• Keep your family healthier by keeping pollution out of your home. WebMD recommends keeping your floors clean and fresh to keep your home’s indoor air quality at its best. A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter will collect pollen, dander, and even lead that can accumulate in your home. 

• Switch to a natural cleaner when scrubbing your kitchen sink. One very popular cleaning scrub has been found to have seven carcinogens and 146 airborne allergens. Instead, try making a natural scrub that will work just as well — if not better. Mix equal parts table salt, baking soda, and oxygen bleach with a few drops of an essential oil, and you will have the perfect scrub for your kitchen sink. For the recipe and a video on how to make and use this scrub, go to

• Stop creating a chemical cocktail in your home. Everyone knows that you shouldn’t mix cleaning chemicals like bleach and ammonia in a bucket, but what happens when they mix in the air? Fumes from your cleaning products mix and can create a toxic environment for your family. Learn about the ingredients that are in the products you are using. You can use Websites such as to find out what’s in the products you are using in your home.

• Put up a clothesline and hang dry some of your laundry. You don’t have to hang dry everything, but try putting some items out in the sun instead of in the dryer. Not only will this save energy, but it will also save on the wear and tear of your clothes. You definitely want to hang dry your bed sheets outside in the sunshine. Give them a little spritz of lavender water (use a cup of vodka and 7 drops of lavender essential oil), and you’ll be amazed at how well you sleep.