For most individuals, a microwave is one kitchen appliance they simply can’t do without. To them, it’s indispensable.
But then, questions remain on the safety of the containers used to reheat or cook food in this appliance. The most controversy lies in plastic containers.
Are plastic containers microwave safe? Well, while some plastic containers are safe to use in the microwave, others are not.
In fact, some experts recommend not using plastics in the microwave at all, whether labeled microwave-safe or not.
Plastic contains chemicals that can leach into your food, especially when heated.
Continue reading the articles to know whether plastic containers are microwavable or not.
Is it Safe to Microwave Food in Plastic?
You might be aware that plastic containers and a microwave are a terrible match. What’s the problem, you ask?
Evidence is mounting that plastic food containers have artificial chemicals: Phthalates and Bisphenol A. The 2 are added to plastic to make it pliable and give it shape.
These endocrine disruptors affect hormones such as testosterone and estrogen and cause reproductive problems, obesity, and diabetes.
BPA is usually found in polycarbonate plastic, typically used to make drinking glasses, baby bottles, and food storage containers.
And although most manufacturers of food prep, storage, and serving products have changed PC for BPA-free plastic, these plastics are still unsafe to use.
When microwaved, BPA-free plastics can still release other toxic chemicals like bisphenol Sand F or phthalates into your food.
In fact, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) prohibits the use of BPA materials in baby bottles, infant formula packaging, and sippy cups.
It is, therefore, a great idea to avoid using plastic containers in the microwave unless it’s specifically labeled microwave-safe.
Are Some Plastics Good than Others?
There are good and bad plastics – some are safer than others are not. In general, steer away from plastics with the numbers (APET) #1. These are usually supermarket containers, water bottles, and most containers mostly used for cold food.
And if you have to store your food in plastic, avoid anything marked 7, use 4 instead.
If the container has a #5 on it, it’s made from polypropylene and thus considered microwave-safe. CPET #1 is also safe to use in the microwave.
Plastic grocery food tubs and takeout containers are generally not microwave-safe. You should also not reuse prepackaged microwave food trays or microwave food in plastic bags.
Another important tip to keep in mind is that cracked or old containers leach chemicals with ease and should be thrown away.
Is Plastic Tupperware Safe to Microwave?
Tupperware is a high-quality product line that makes durable, convenient, and easy to maintain plastic products. Their products are sold in Canada and the United States and are BPA-free.
They have thoroughly tested their products to ascertain which ones are safe to use in the microwave and those that aren’t.
In fact, currently, Tupperware uses no polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyvinylchloride (PVC), or polystyrene in its products.
Check the bottom for a microwave-safe symbol to verify whether your Tupperware product is microwave-safe. It is usually indicated in 3 wavy lines.
If the container doesn’t have the Labe, avoid using it in the microwave. Don’t use it to store your food as well.
The company recommends that even with their microwave-safe container, you should not reheat food for more than 3 minutes. And where the food requires longer than 3 minutes to heat, stop the appliance at 3 minutes, stir the food and then resume heating.
How to Heat and Store Food Safely
Whether you are heating your food in the microwave or not, follow the following guidelines to keep it safe:
- Heat food in microwave-safe porcelain or glass when using a microwave.
- Always use paper towels and avoid plastic when covering your food in the microwave.
- Avoid freezing your food in plastic containers and then thawing them in the microwave.
- Always choose BPA-free and phthalate-free products.
- Do not store food in disposable plastics; use stainless steel, ceramic, or wood to store or hold foods.
- Toss away old plastic containers as these leach chemicals with ease.
- Avoid reusing takeout containers or plastic water bottles.
- Don’t store your water bottles in direct sunlight or near heat.
- Avoid placing hot foods or liquids on plastics.
- Read the numbers on plastic containers (recycling symbols) and avoid those marked 1, 3, 6, or 7.
Washing your plastic containers in the dishwasher can make them start leaching chemicals and should therefore be avoided. And if you must, wash only those labeled as microwave-safe by placing them in the top rack.
Although most food preparation, serving, and storage containers are made from plastic, microwaving them is not a good idea. They can release harmful chemicals like phthalates and BPA.
Therefore, unless the plastic container is labeled microwave-safe, avoid microwaving it at all costs.