Do you know the plastic you use for food storage can expose your food to harmful chemicals and toxins?
With the increasing awareness regarding harmful products, people are now finally considering safety. Thanks to the advanced research that is being done to let them know what harmful toxins they are exposed to while using plastic material.
While some plastic types are incredibly harmful, others are considered safe for use when you eat your food or even store it for more extended periods.
If you want to know which plastic is safe for food storage, look no more as this article has covered everything you need to know about it.
Plastic types safe for food storage
There are many types of plastics based on the materials used to make them; however, in recent times, there have been various indications that have classified some of them to be safe for storing food and others as not secure. Here are the four plastic types that are safe for keeping your food and don’t threaten your health.
1- Polypropylene for Food storage
This is a thermoplastic material that is resistant to corrosion and can easily be recycled. Due to the benefits Polypropylene (PP) possesses, this plastic is one of the most used plastic types for making containers to store food.
What makes it a stand-out type of plastic is the fact that it is a lot more flexible and offers excellent durability due to the fantastic construction techniques used. Additionally, it is also dishwasher safe, making it an exceptional choice in order to use for kitchen purposes.
Due to being almost entirely resistant to moisture, heat, and light, this PP plastic can conveniently store your food for up to a year without even an ounce of a chance of exposing it to toxic chemicals. Not only are the containers made using PP extremely durable, but they are also relatively light in weight and affordable, making them a perfect choice for storing your food for more extended periods.
Benefits of Polypropylene
- Possess flexural strength due to semi-crystalline construction.
- Quite good chemical resistance.
- Moisture resistance.
- Relatively inexpensive material.
- Resistant to corrosion.
- Maintain its shape even after experiencing bending or torsion.
2- Low-Density Polyethylene for Food storage
Being highly impact resistant, this plastic type is considered suitable for use as bowls and small tubs for storing food. Due to being quite flexible compared to the other plastic types, LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) is highly durable.
Most often, the LDPE plastic is used for packaging, and therefore, due to the properties this plastic possess, it is exceptionally significant for storing perishable item since it doesn’t react with the food and can easily stand high temperatures without being melted or changing shape. So the LDPE plastic is safe for food storage.
Additionally, due to being lower in density, this plastic type doesn’t occupy much space in your fridge or freezer, which makes it a great option if you have a small refrigerator at home and every inch of its space matters to you.
Benefits of LDPE:
- Chemical resistant.
- Impact resistant.
- It can withstand high temperatures.
- Flexibility to be molded in different bowl shapes.
- Very economical and cost-effective.
- You can widely recycle it.
3- Polycarbonate for Food storage
This kind of plastic material is highly versatile and can protect your food against moisture, health, and other toxins, making it quite a suitable option for storing food. Compared to their plastic counterparts, Polycarbonate is significantly less likely to contain any BPA.
It is not only suitable for food storage but for a variety of uses in the food industry due to being extremely clear and durable. If you are someone who wants to clearly see what is stored in what container in your deep freezer, this plastic is definitely for you.
Although there have been various debates where it is discussed that this plastic type contains some traces of BPA, multiple pieces of research and studies have shown that the amount is so negligible that it doesn’t pose any physical threat to your health.
Benefits of PC
- It is highly durable and likely to be 250 times stronger than glass.
- Available in transparent and multiple colors.
- Excellent thermal insulation.
- Provides a clear view of food.
- Shatter resistant.
- Light in weight.
- Containers are heat resistant.
- Keep the food fresh for more extended periods.
4- High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) for Food storage
High-density polyethylene is relatively light in weight and yet strong, thanks to the high strength-to-density ratio that it possesses. It is suitable for storing food because this plastic is resistant to mold, mildew, and even insects to protect your food thoroughly.
The plastic is usually transparent and can easily be used to store drinks like milk or juice products. This is generally because HDPE has a high resistance to heat and chemicals, due to which you can easily store your food in the containers made using this plastic, even for longer periods.
Another thing that makes it stand out among competitors is the fact that it is highly environmentally friendly. High-Density Polyethylene can easily be recycled and help you reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to the betterment of the environment. High-Density Polyethylene Plastic Is Safe For Food Storage.
Benefits of High-Density Polyethylene
- Remains stiff until it reaches incredibly high temperatures.
- Quite resistant to environmental conditions.
- You can easily recycle it.
- Has higher tensile strength than LDPE.
- Light in weight.
- Very strong in nature.
5- Polyethylene Terephthalate for Food storage
This is one of our favorites since PET is not only safe in a virgin state, but this Plastic Is Safe For Food Storage when recycled, unlike other plastic types. Even the recycled state of Polyethylene terephthalate is FDA approved for getting it in contact with food like its virgin state.
This is overall quite an ideal material for food storage and beverage contact, but the only drawback is that it can be used for storing food for shorter periods of time. This is usually a strong plastic type; however, exposing it to high temperatures may pose a little risk.
This material is ideal for not reacting with food in any way and not leeching chemicals into them even a bit. Additionally, its shape remains intact even when you keep it in the freezer, so sit back and relax since your food is safe even when frozen for months to come.
Benefits of PET
- This plastic is 100% recyclable.
- Quite safe for storing food and beverages.
- Light in weight than alternative options.
- Highly sustainable in nature.
- It can be recycled again and again.
- High strength to weight ratio.
- Transparent and shatterproof.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to buy the right plastic food storage containers?
Here are a few of the steps that you need to keep in mind when buying plastic for food storage.
Make sure to check the code of plastic before making your final purchase. The safest choices for food use are 1,2, 4, and 5.
Ensure that the plastic you are going to use doesn’t contain any BPA content.
Avoid using them at high temperatures and putting them in the dishwasher for longer use.
Ensure that you buy the plastic type that is recyclable so that you don’t contribute to your carbon footprint.
Should you wash plastic containers in a dishwasher?
You should only wash your plastic containers in a dishwasher if they have an indication or a symbol that guarantees they are safe to be washed in one. Many of the plastics now come with that symbol; however, there are high chances your plastic container will get more wear out when washed in dishwashers. Therefore, ensure that the plastic you are using is not degrading when washed in hot water or abrasive detergents.
What food should not be stored in plastic containers?
It is recommended not to store food with a lot of oil in it since many of the plastic types have chemicals that are fat soluble and, therefore, may leach into your oily food. Do check the directions that the plastic containers come with, or at least make sure that they are FDA-approved so you can use them to store food without worrying about getting chemicals inside your body.
How do I know if plastic is food safe?
One of the easiest ways to check whether the plastic that you are purchasing is safe to store food is to check the Resin identification code or the recycling number. The code varies from the numbers 1 to 7, and all of these numbers are considered safe for food.
Plastic containers are the most flexible and convenient ways to store your food for more prolonged periods. Although plastic has been used for decades now, some studies have shown how toxic the chemicals used to make plastic materials can be for your health. One thing that can help you avoid getting these poisonous chemicals inside your body is to use plastic containers that are FDA approved and safe for food storage. In this article, we have answered your query about which plastic is safe for food storage by giving you five different options to choose the one that best suits your needs.