When storing food, it’s important to make sure that you are using food safe containers and not ones that may pose a burden on the environment and potentially to your health. The following are suggestions for choosing and using food storage containers
- Use the container for its intended purpose. A food grade container is one that will not transfer non-food chemicals into the food, and contains no chemicals which would be hazardous to human health. Plastics designed for single use should be used only once. Plastic breaks down over time and some are not designed to withstand heating and cooling. Most plastics with recycling code number “one” are intended for single use, such as disposable water bottles. In general, they are fine for refrigerating leftovers, but are not designed for heat exposure or long-term use. Remember to reheat leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash by hand. Only put plastics into the dishwasher if they have a dishwasher safe label. If you want to be extra cautious, wash all plastics by hand or use only glass containers. Pay attention to lids that may contain seals, over time these deteriorate, become loosened or could collect pathogens. A tight secure seal is desirable.
- The microwave and food containers: While a “microwave safe” or “microwavable” label on plastic containers only means that they should not melt, crack or fall apart when used in the microwave, the label is no guarantee that containers don’t leach chemicals into foods when heated. The S. Department of Agriculture also warns against microwaving in single-use containers not intended for that purpose, such as takeout platters and margarine tubs.
For more information regarding which plastics are safe for food storage please visit the following link: https://extension.usu.edu/archive/which-plastics-are-safe-for-food-storage
Source: Michigan State University
By: Ashley Svaty