Some people are against the use of plastic containers in microwave. They believe that the plastic may leach into food. Once the contaminated food is consumed, they worry that this material could affect body hormones causing development of cancer or birth defect.
However, according to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), freezing and microwaving plastic food containers and wraps may cause small amount of chemicals (used to make certain plastics) leach into food. However, this leach is still within safe limits based on information available to the agency. FDA does not deny that it will revisit the safety evaluation if new scientific information is available.
While I have not read any case involving these chemicals kill someone, but I think some people may be more susceptible than others when comes to chemical exposure. The long term effect may only be seen after many years. I seldom microwave my food in plastic container because it is tough to clean it up once it has the stain in it. In fact, this stain is common when I cook fatty food at high temperatures.
If you often use plastic containers in microwave, check out the following tips to use them in microwave:
- Use containers specifically labeled as “microwave safe”. These containers are made to withstand high temperature. Also, some of the plastic are intended only for a single use and not safe for repeated use in microwave. If you are not use whether the plastic container is safe, use other containers instead.
- Most frozen foods are wrapped with plastic wrap as part of the packaging. Even if the plastic wrap is microwave-safe, place them loosely over the food to allow the steam to escape. Do not let them directly in contact with your food. Rule of thumb, leave at least an inch of air space between the plastic wrap and food during microwave heating.
- Do not use cold or freezer storage containers such as yogurt, margarine and ice-cream tubs, carry out containers from restaurants, plastic grocery bags in the microwave. Containers like these are not heat stable and tend to melt in microwave.
- Also, do not wrap the food with newspaper or aluminum foil.
For me, to make things simple, instead of using plastic containers, I prefer microwaveable glass or ceramic.
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