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Microwaving with Plastics

Many of today’s plastic containers, packages and wraps are designed to withstand microwave temperatures. To make sure yours is one of them, check the item or its packaging label. If the label contains instructions for microwave use, be sure to follow them.

What to look for when microwaving with plastics:

  • “Microwave Safe” label
  • Imprinted microwave symbol. Most reusable plastic storage containers contain this symbol.
  • Instructions for proper microwave use on the packaging label.

To play it safe, look for plastics that are labeled for microwave use and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Plastics such as butter tubs and deli containers are designed for cold food storage and are not intended for reheating. If your container isn’t labeled for microwave use, do not use it in the microwave.

Microwaving with Plastic Wrap

Plastic wrap, placed loosely over bowls or dishes during reheating, can help retain moisture to allow foods to cook more evenly and thoroughly and prevent splattering. It is best to use plastic wrap that is labeled for microwave use or includes microwave cooking instructions. To prevent plastic wrap from melting, leave at least an inch between the food and the wrap covering the dish.

What Can Happen if You use a Non-Microwaveable plastic in the microwave?

If you use a plastic container in the microwave that is not microwave save, it may melt and cause and accidental burns if it comes into contact with skin.

Other tips

  • Most plastic trays provided with prepackaged meals are intended for one-time use.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Web site does say substances used to make plastics can leach into foods. But the FDA has found the levels expected to migrate into foods to be well within the margin of safety based on information available to the agency.

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