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Safely Storing Organic Foods

You've spent the time and money to buy a load of wonderful organic foods, so do you pack them away in containers that may end up contaminating your fine food? Hopefully not. So it's important that you know the best way to store and keep your foods so that you're not just adding more chemicals anyway.

The safest container for any kind of food storage is glass. It’s an inert material which will not leach anything onto your food even if you heat in it. Pyrex is a good one to use if you also use your containers in the microwave. But for general pantry and cupboard storage, any kind of glass will do. These days you can buy many smaller containers that do have fitted plastic lids so they can be used for leftovers or any other kind of food storage. Glass really isn't just for cooking anymore.

Unfortunately, glass is quite expensive and very heavy. A whole cupboard packed with full glass containers may be a strain on your shelves.

Which is why plastic has become the more common material. And this is where problems can come in. Recently, studies have shown that certain types of plastics contain Bisphenol A (also known as BPA), and that this is a toxic chemical that can end up in your food or water. The type of plastic to look out for is polycarbonate (identified as #7).

Other than that, most plastic containers intended to be used repeatedly for food storage are safe. Tupperware and even Glad or Ziploc products, for example. Any containers that have come from a more temporary use, such as deli tubs are not made from the same plastic and should not be used to store foods at home. Anything made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC or #3 plastic), polyethylene terephthalate (PET or #1) or polystyrene (#6) should strictly be avoided, especially if you use your storage containers to heat up foods in the microwave.

These containers can release various types of phthalates, dioxins and other such compounds into your food over the long term. They are typically fine for single use, but should head straight into the recycling bin after that.

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