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More on microwave cooking.


Last month we reported on the potential hazard of microwaving food products sold in "heat susceptor packaging "that allows the product to brown or crisp rather than get soggy in the microwave oven. Although the extent of the risk to health, if any, has not yet been determined, some consumer groups are recommending that such products be avoided until current FDA and other investigations provide more definitive answers to the question of safety of these products. Now one of these groups, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is also concerned about foods packaged in containers used either in microwave or conventional ovens. Although such containers are presumably safe for microwave use, they may not be safe for conventional ovens, due to the possible release of chemicals into the food. They recommend, therefore, that food to be cooked in conventional ovens be transferred from its original packaging to heat-resistant glassware.

They also point out that plasticizers used in PVC plastic cling wraps may get into fatty food if it is in direct contact with the food during the microwaving process. Although it is tempting to just toss that plastic-wrapped leftover pork chop directly from the fridge to the microwave for a quick snack, for example, they suggest removing the wrapper and heating the food in a microwave dish. If plastic wrap is preferred for covering cookware in the microwave, just make sure it doesn't touch the food, or use glass covers.

Unfortunately, no government agency is now testing cookware containing chemicals that may migrate into food. Thus the terms "microwaveable" and microwave-safe," etc., have no real meaning as far as potential health hazards are concerned. Until such standards are applied to cookware, the use of glass dishes or heat-resistant material such as Coming Ware is probably the safest course of action.
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Title Annotation:containers used
Publication:Medical Update
Date:May 1, 1990
Previous Article:The continuing coffee controversy.
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