Welcome to my blog on healthy eating and food safety. I look forward to your comments and feedback regarding use of this tool to disseminate educational information. This blog will be updated on a regular basis.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Using Plastic in the Microwave


Using Plastic in the Microwave
All plastics are not created equal when it comes to use in the microwave. Here are some tips on using deciding when and when not to use plastics in the microwave.
Many of today’s plastic containers, packages and wraps are specially designed to withstand microwave temperatures. To make sure yours is one of them, check the item or its packaging label and follow any instructions. If neither the item nor the package is marked, it’s best to use a different container.

Some products may use the term “Microwave Safe.” This is the manufacturer’s way of letting consumers know that a product has been designed to withstand microwave heat without melting or warping under normal use conditions. Other products may carry a microwave symbol or simply provide instructions for proper microwave use. Either of these is an indication that a product is suitable for microwaving when used in accordance with the directions provided.
Plastic wrap, placed loosely over bowls or dishes during reheating, can help retain moisture to allow foods to cook more evenly and thoroughly and prevent splattering. As with any plastic packaging, it’s best to use plastic wrap that is labeled for microwave use or includes microwave cooking instructions. Because microwaves heat foods more quickly than plastic, most manufacturers recommend leaving at least an inch between the food and the wrap covering the dish. This is to prevent the plastic wrap from melting, which could result from contact with extremely hot foods.
It is often convenient to reheat leftovers in takeout containers or reused containers such as empty butter tubs or dessert topping containers.  Is this safe? It is not likely that microwaving with these containers presents any health risk, but if used inappropriately, accidental burns could occur. So, unless a container is marked that it is suitable for microwave use, there may be a risk that it will melt or deform if exposed to high heat. If your container isn’t marked for microwave use, it’s best to choose one that is.

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