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Are Plastic Containers and Packaging Materials safe for Food?

Are plastic food containers and packaging materials safe?

Yes. The plastic materials used to manufacture food contact items conform to the requirements of internationally recognised food and health authorities. The most widely used regulations are the USA’s Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulations or the European Economic Community Directive on plastic materials and articles in contact with food.

 

What is the plastic used in food containers made from?

The plastics most commonly used for food packaging are Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE); High Density Polyethylene (HDPE); Polypropylene (PP); Polystyrene (PS) and Polyester (PET). All these plastics are derived from highly purified products of the petroleum industry.

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Can plastic food packages be reused?

Plastic containers can be safely re-used for food storage. As with any type of container, glass, metal, pottery or plastic, normal good hygiene and food storage practises should be observed. Be aware that some highly spiced foods may stain some plastic containers. This, however does not constitute a health risk.

 

Can they be used in the microwave oven?

Microwaving in plastic containers does not present any health risk. In fact many plastic containers are designed for microwave use. We would not recommend using light weight plastic containers such as margarine tubs for microwave heating. This applies particularly for foods with a high fat or sugar content. These foods can reach very high temperatures in the microwave. At high temperatures, the thin plastic containers become soft and may be difficult to handle. This could result in scalds and burns.

 

Can I use clingwrap in the microwave?

Cling film can be safely used in microwave ovens. The plastic itself does not heat up in the microwave, but is heated if it is in direct contact with the food. Most cling film manufacturers recommend that, when covering a bowl for microwaving, you keep a gap of about 25 mm between the film and the food surface. This is particularly important with fatty foods, or foods with a high sugar content as these may become hot enough to melt the cling film.

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