You may find that some recipes call for using plastic wrap in boiling water, for example, poaching eggs in clingfilm. The recipe may require that you brush the plastic wrap with oil or butter to prevent the food from sticking to it when cooking.
The question is: is it safe to use plastic wrap in boiling water?
It is not safe to use plastic wrap in boiling water as plastic wrap is made up of specific harmful chemicals. These chemicals may leach into food when the plastic wrap is heated beyond a certain point. In addition, some of the chemicals are toxic and may have an adverse effect on your health when consumed with food.
Chemicals used in the production of plastic wrap
Food and beverage production is monitored by regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which require food-grade materials to be used when materials come into contact with food. This also applies to packaging. Food safe plastics have been developed for use in food packaging. This type of plastic must follow very strict manufacturing processes that are monitored by the government.
There are four different types of plastic used in food packaging:
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
- Crystallizable Polyethylene Terephthalate (CPET)
- Plastic Films
Polyvinylidene Chloride, polyethylene (PE), and polyolefin (POF), different types of plastic, are most commonly used to protect and secure food in retail and shipping environments. Each of these types of plastics has different capabilities that make them suitable for use in food storage and shipping.
Polyvinylidene Chloride is the chemical used to make plastic wrap, which is used to wrap food items and includes saran wrap, cling film, and cling wrap. This type of plastic contains di(2-ethylhexyl)adipateor DEHA, which is a plasticide. This plasticide is of toxicological concern. Studies suggest that DEHA induces liver tumors in mice. Additionally, there were studies conducted that found that DEHA leached into food.
These studies clearly highlight the dangers of using plastic when cooking food and amplify the need to avoid using plastic. There are other alternatives that can be used to substitute plastic when boiling certain types of food in boiling water.
At what temperature will plastic melt?
When plastic wrap is heated up, in an oven for example, the plastic will start to melt from 220°F to 250°F. Therefore, it is not advised to heat food in plastic wrap in the oven or in the microwave, as harmful toxins found in the plastic may leach into the food.
There are certain plastic manufacturers that state that their products are safe to use in microwaves, but they simply refer to the plastic melting and not to the harmful effects of heating food in plastic.
Will plastic wrap melt in hot water?
Most types of plastic will not melt in boiling water. Water starts to boil at 212°F while a good quality plastic wrap will have a melting point of 250°F to 290°F. However, there is the possibility that harmful toxins found in the plastic may leach into the food when exposed to higher temperatures. Therefore, the concern is not that the plastic will melt in the boiling water, but that it may leach toxins into the food.
Many types of plastic food wrap contain manufacturer warnings stating that plastic wrap should not be heated up using direct heat. Manufacturers also warn not to heat food containing fat in plastic wrap, as heating the fat to high temperatures may cause the plastic wrap to melt or leach harmful chemicals into the food.
Is it safe to cook with plastic wrap in boiling water?
No, it is not safe to cook food in plastic wrap. As previously mentioned, while the plastic may not melt, there may be chemicals contained in the plastic that will leach onto or into food when heated at a high temperature.
Some manufacturers may state that it is safe to boil food in their plastic wrap, provided that you follow instructions concerning the maximum temperature and the time used to boil the food, but it is advised to check the label of the product to ensure that there are not harmful chemicals in the wrap that may leach when heated.
What is the difference between plastic wrap, saran wrap, and cling film?
Plastic wrapping is a type of plastic that clings. When you wrap a container with plastic wrapping, the wrapping will usually cling to the container that is being wrapped.
Plastic wrap, clingfilm, and saran wrap are all types of plastic food wrap. There are generic brands of plastic food wrap and there are named brands. Saran wrap is a brand name, while plastic wrap and clingfilm refer to the product itself and not the name of the product.
Plastic wrapping comes in different strengths, with some wrapping being very thing while others are more sturdy and thick. There is definitely a difference in the quality of different plastic wraps which ultimately affects the durability and strength of the wrapping material. Store bought plastic wrap is usually 35 ga to 40 ga thick.
Can you steam food in plastic wrap?
It’s always advised to check the manufacturer’s instructions on the container to ensure that the plastic wrap is safe for microwave use. Some products are designed to withstand high heat.
However, this does not mean that you should heat the food in plastic wrap. Untreated plastic wrap is the most dangerous as it may leach toxins into the food.
Is it safe to boil eggs in plastic wrap?
Many celebrity chefs have condoned the use of plastic wrap to boil eggs in water, advising home cooks to line the plastic wrap with oil or butter to prevent the food from sticking to it.
However, plastic wrap should not be heated up through direct or indirect methods. While most people do this, it does not mean that it is safe or advised. Avoid using any type of plastic to cook food.
What plastic bags are safe to boil?
Ziploc bags have been used to boil food in hot water. Many chefs use Ziploc bags for Sous-vide cooking, a French style of cooking that allows food to cook in its own steam by placing the food in plastic bags and cooking the food to a specific temperature in boiling water.
And, while this may be a popular method of cooking, it is still not advised to use plastic in this technique of cooking. There are healthier and safer products that can be used as a substitute for plastic in this style of cooking. One type of material that can be used is silicone bags.