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Can You Eat Packing Peanuts? (Quick Answers)

The amount of packing peanuts available in every household is uncountable. They come inside packages to protect our items and fill up space. They also ensure that the objects inside don’t move around. 

These peanut-sized ones sure can look tasty to eat. But have you ever tried eating one? Is it safe to consume? What happens if you accidentally eat one? Many people have tried eating it and let’s find out if it was good or bad for them! 

Can you eat packing peanuts?

Not all sorts of packing peanuts are edible. You can eat packing peanuts occasionally as long as they are the right kind. Biodegradable edible packing peanuts can be consumed. However, all types of packing peanuts should not be eaten if consumed on a regular basis. 

Is it ok to eat packing peanuts?

Whether or not it is ok to eat packing peanuts depends on what kind of packing peanuts you are consuming and how much. There are many types of packing peanuts available but not all are safe to consume. Let’s find out which ones are safe. 

Cornstarch packing peanuts:

You can eat a small amount of cornstarch packing peanuts with no harm. Since they are made out of cornstarch, they are edible. They have been known to taste like stale puffy Cheetos with no flavor. 

Dissolvable packing peanuts:

Packing peanuts that are dissolvable are biodegradable which means they are made out of edible ingredients such as wheat or corn. They are safe to consume occasionally. Do not eat 10 to 20 of them at once. 

Modere packing peanuts:

Modere packing peanuts are said to be 100% biodegradable which means they are edible. 

Their ingredients include potato, corn, and they are also gluten-free. They are not toxic so you can eat a small amount. In fact, they say you can feed them to your chicken as snacks. 

Compostable packing peanuts:

Since they are biodegradable, you can eat them occasionally. It is always better to check the ingredients. If it includes non-toxic ingredients such as potato, corn, or wheat, then it is fine to consume.

Non-degradable packing peanuts should not be consumed at all. There are ways to differentiate between them and we’ll learn more about it next.  

Can packing peanuts hurt you?

Recently, plenty of people have been trying to pack peanuts. But can it hurt you? This depends on what kind of packing peanuts you’re having. 

You should be fine if you consume the edible kind occasionally but regular or large consumption of any sort of packing peanuts is harmful to health. 

There has also been research about Styrene induced cancer. Having cancer by consuming styrene foam packing peanuts is low unless you are having it every day for years. But you can expect to notice symptoms such as digestive issues, vomiting, and stomach ache. 

Packing peanuts will not hurt you but it can hurt your dog. They cannot digest plastics and might accidentally consume a large amount of packing peanuts. It can get trapped in their organs which can lead to intestinal blockage. These blockages can be fatal unless treated. 

What happens if you eat a packing peanut?

This depends on what kind of packing peanuts you eat and the amount. Digesting a large amount of packing peanuts can be harmful to humans and pets. 

Upset Stomach:

Edible packing peanuts can also lead to an upset stomach. It is very rare and mostly applicable to pets and small children. 

Intestinal blockage:

Packing peanuts made out of polystyrene might contain toxins that are harmful to humans and animals. When mixed with hot food or liquid, the toxic elements could be in our tissues and blood flow. This happens rarely. 

You could feel nothing:

Many people have snacked on packing peanuts over the years and have reported feeling no changes at all. 

It is not recommended since packing peanuts is not meant for snacking. There are edible packing peanuts that are also treated as snacks. 

Dehydration or vomiting:

A small amount of styrofoam packing peanuts will not cause this but if you accidentally eat a large amount, it could get stuck in your esophagus, and other organs. Once again, this mostly happens to pets and very small children. 

How can you tell if a packing peanut is edible?

Check the color:

The first step would be to check the packaging. If the packaging does not have any information, check the color of the packing peanuts. Most non-biodegradable packing peanuts are white or pink. 

They are made out of polystyrene whereas edible packing peanuts are commonly green. Edible packing peanuts are often colored green to be able to differentiate between the two.

Test for static electricity:

Biodegradable ones have no electrostatic charge so if your packing peanut is made out of foam, it will stick to your clothes or other staticky items such as electronics. 

Water test:

This is commonly used to differentiate between them. Drop a peanut inside a hot glass of water. If it starts to get mushy and dissolves, then it is a biodegradable packing peanut. On the other hand, foam packing peanuts will not dissolve. 

Starch test using iodine:

Biodegradable packing peanuts are made out of starch. Iodine becomes dark or blue when mixed with biodegradable packing peanuts whereas styrofoam packing peanuts stay yellow or amber. 

This means there is no starch in the non-biodegradable packing peanuts. 

You can also try contacting the manufacturers with the help of the packaging. Most manufacturers will advise you not to eat them. 

How to eat packing peanuts?

Although it is not the best idea, there are many ways you can eat packing peanuts. The first thing to make sure of is that the packing peanuts are edible. 

Some manufacturers sell packing peanuts that can be consumed with no harm such as Lush rice packing peanuts. But they also advise not to consume it on a daily basis.

Due to their similar taste to Cheetos and popcorn, some people have tried adding flavor to packing peanuts such as cheese, salt, and other ingredients. You can add cheese powder as well to get the feeling of Cheetos. 

You might find a label on the package written ‘Safe to eat’ but plenty of people have reported getting sick from eating packing peanuts.  It is only safe to eat when consumed accidentally but a large amount can be harmful. 

Are packing peanuts toxic?

Biodegradable packing peanuts are not toxic but that does not mean they are meant to digest. They are made from crop-based elements such as wheat and corn starch and the non degradable ones are made out of petroleum-based polystyrene. 

Non biodegradable ones can be more harmful to the body but both types can cause digestion issues. 

If your dog or pet accidentally ate biodegradable packing peanuts, the only thing likely to happen is an upset stomach. No need to worry. Feeding packing peanuts on a daily basis to your pet is not the best idea. 

It can even hurt your pet if they accidentally consume a large amount. Keep it separately, out of their sight. Aside from being non-toxic, biodegradable packing peanuts are also not harmful to the environment. 

Are packing peanuts the same as Cheetos?

Over the years, packing peanuts have been given the name ‘puffy Cheetos’ because of their similar taste. But are they the same? 

They do have similar ingredients but they are absolutely not the same. They are both made of corn starch. But they only have the starch in it, without the cornmeal. 

Many people have tried packing peanuts as Cheetos or tried making them taste similar to Cheetos. However, keep in mind that not all packing peanuts are edible. Most packing peanuts are not manufactured in food-safe conditions. 

Although it won’t hurt you, our bodies are not built to adjust to plastic foam which can lead to intestinal blockages. Packing peanuts can also be a choking risk for children below the age of 5. 

Do all packing peanuts dissolve in water?

No, not all packing peanuts dissolve in water. The ones that dissolve in water are biodegradable. They have been made this way to benefit the environment. 

The biodegradable ones are made out of starch-based ingredients. If you can’t reuse the packing peanuts, then you can dispose of them this way. 

It is also a way to find out if your packing peanuts are biodegradable or not. If the packing peanut dissolves in water, it is a biodegradable packing peanut. Packing peanuts made out of polystyrene or plastic foam do not dissolve in water. 

Why do packing peanuts smell like popcorn?

Not all packing peanuts smell like popcorn. Some have a slight smell that is similar to popcorn but it is highly unlikely. Only a type of biodegradable packing peanuts could smell like popcorn. 

This is because many biodegradable packing peanuts are made out of starch, specifically corn. It is not always the same variety of corn as popcorn. 

There is another name for packing peanuts that smell like popcorn called foam popcorn or foam peanuts. They are similar in other ways. 

If you put them in water, both will get mushy in water. There are some packing peanuts that absorb odors which could also make them smell like popcorn. 

Biodegradable packing peanuts are safe to consume but on a moderate level. Eating them daily can cause harm to your body and your pets. Make sure to check whether or not they are edible before consuming. It might not be fatal but there are consequences such as stomach ache and vomiting.