Is There a Difference Between Food-Safe Plastic & Regular Plastic?

Save

Food-safe plastics are a different type and grade of plastics than those used in other commercial products, such as toy packaging. Food is stored in different types of plastics, according to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and not following the recommended uses can make the plastic unsafe for food.

Features

  • Plastic labeled as "food-safe" or used for food must meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's standards of a higher level of purity than that of regular plastic. Its packaging can contain recycled materials but must not have harmful chemicals or dyes. The food-safe plastic type must be suitable for the food it will contain; for example, a food-safe container made of plastic that does not withstand heat should not contain hot food.

Types

  • Consumer products and packages use one of seven different types of plastic, but plastic items labeled as "food-safe" or used for food storage typically use one of only three kinds: polypropylene, polycarbonate and high-density polyethylene. Polypropylene does not bend or stretch easily and it can withstand hot items. Food holders with lids, such as yogurt containers, and common food storage containers use polypropylene.

    Polycarbonate plastics do not stain easily and are commonly used in food storage items, but the plastic might leach bisphenol A, a harmful substance.

    High-density polyethylene is resistant to seepage. It is found in containers for milk, juice and water; the inside of coolers; and large food-storage buckets.

Considerations

  • No containers that have held holding chemicals, cleaning agents or "food-safe." Food-safe containers are porous, so items that are hazardous to humans could seep into the plastic.

    Food should not be microwaved in a food or "microwave-safe" plastic container, according to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, because chemicals could leak into the food as the plastic is heated. Do not let plastic wrap -- typically made of polyvinyl chloride -- touch food as it cooks in a microwave, and instead use a paper towel to cover the food if possible. There is greater leaching of chemicals from plastics into fatty foods, according to the institute.

Misconceptions

  • "One-time-use" plastics are not safe for reuse with food and liquids. Single-use water bottles and "throwaway" utensils, food containers and plates, although safe for food at first use, do not withstand repeated use or cleaning. Some types of single-use food plastics cannot tolerate hot or acidic foods without breaking down and leaching chemicals.

References

Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

You May Also Like

  • Types of Plastic Molding

    Plastics are available in two main types: thermoplastics, which are meltable, and thermosets, which are not. The difference is in how their...

  • How to Store Water Long-Term

    The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has published guidelines for long-term water storage. FEMA recommends commercially bottled water because it has...

  • How to Repair a Polypropylene Gas Tank

    You cannot repair a damaged polypropylene gas tank with epoxy or a plastic tank repair kit, because gasoline will quickly dissolve the...

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!