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My crock pot is full of lead. Can you recommend one that isn't?


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14 replies to this topic

#1 jrshaul

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 04:58 PM

After a few months of fumbling, I found someone who could configure my $17 Chinese PID controller and bashed a sous vide setup together. However, while at the shop, a rather spectacularly eagle-eye'd individual noticed that my garage sale crock pot had been recalled for lead contamination....in the 1990s. I had purchased it at an estate sale, and had yet to use it; presumably, the past owner was not so lucky.

Can anyone recommend a good crock-pot for use with my PID controller? Something with a big, thick-walled vessel to evenly distribute heat would be good, especially if it had some thermal insulation to keep the electric bill down. A plastic lid would be a bonus, as it would make it very easy to fit a rubber stopper to insert the temperature probe.

#2 Darienne

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 05:19 PM

However, while at the shop, a rather spectacularly eagle-eye'd individual noticed that my garage sale crock pot had been recalled for lead contamination....in the 1990s.

Your questions are way beyond my ken, but I did catch the 'lead contamination' bit. Three of my crockpots are old and I'd like to know where they stand in this issue. Please. Don't leave us all hanging.

Thanks.
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#3 jrshaul

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 05:36 PM

I can't find the link he showed me, but here are a few examples:
http://www.consumera...ow_cookers.html

#4 lesliec

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 06:17 PM

I think the general advice about using a crockpot for SV would be 'don't'.

Because of the thick walls and (if I remember correctly) the heating elements being in the walls, your PID will have trouble keeping the temperature stable. You're better with a basic rice cooker - thin walls, no frills - where the PID won't have to work so hard to control overshoots.

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#5 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 08:44 PM


However, while at the shop, a rather spectacularly eagle-eye'd individual noticed that my garage sale crock pot had been recalled for lead contamination....in the 1990s.

Your questions are way beyond my ken, but I did catch the 'lead contamination' bit. Three of my crockpots are old and I'd like to know where they stand in this issue. Please. Don't leave us all hanging.

Thanks.


Here is a link with detailed information about the Rival crock pot recall. I just realized mine was affected.

http://www.rivalrecall.com/

#6 jrshaul

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 10:22 PM

I think the general advice about using a crockpot for SV would be 'don't'.

Because of the thick walls and (if I remember correctly) the heating elements being in the walls, your PID will have trouble keeping the temperature stable. You're better with a basic rice cooker - thin walls, no frills - where the PID won't have to work so hard to control overshoots.


The engineer I spoke to said to turn down the derivative ("D") on the PID controller. I tested it with water, and it held a neat 53C. It worked fabulously.

Also, my crock pot is pretty cheap - basically, just a small electric stove with a big ceramic pot on it.

I might try an insulated beer cooler with an immersion heater. I like the double safety of a crock pot, though - even in the event of a PID or relay failure, the crock pot will just be a crock pot. Worst case scenario, I have to eat some seriously overcooked beef.

Edited by jrshaul, 26 January 2012 - 10:25 PM.


#7 HowardLi

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 10:40 PM

I use either a hot plate (fifth burner) with a big pot, or an immersion heater in a cooler.

#8 Shalmanese

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 03:22 AM

FWIW, it doesn't really matter if there's lead in your crockpot when cooking SV as you have a layer of plastic between the pan and the food anyway.
PS: I am a guy.

#9 Kerry Beal

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 05:53 AM

Sounds like the lead is in the base, not the crock. So I suspect the concern is atomized lead in the air.

#10 Doodad

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 05:54 AM

Wow thanks for this thread. I am pretty sure I have one and have used it for years.

#11 Anna N

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 06:19 AM

Wow thanks for this thread. I am pretty sure I have one and have used it for years.


Are we really sure that lead was the cause for the recall of these models?

click
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#12 Darienne

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 08:12 AM

Googled 'lead in crockpots' and got a lot of websites with differing information. Any engineering or chemical types out there with some useful information on the subject?

I have three older Rival crockpots and one fairly recent Franklin Chef. I don't want to toss them all but will do so if the more worrisome websites are correct.

Thanks.
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#13 jrshaul

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 12:12 PM


Wow thanks for this thread. I am pretty sure I have one and have used it for years.


Are we really sure that lead was the cause for the recall of these models?

click


Someone at the shop pulled up a picture of my particular crock pot (it's from the late 70s or early 80s) with a lead warning. I suspect, however, that the majority are probably fine.

#14 andiesenji

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 03:09 PM


Wow thanks for this thread. I am pretty sure I have one and have used it for years.


Are we really sure that lead was the cause for the recall of these models?

click



No. Some were recalled because there was a problem with the electrics - poor insulation and/or possibility of direct contact between the wiring and the metal shell.

ANY ceramic product MANUFACTURED and sold in the US for food handling use since 1971 will be safe for use and the "Safe Drinking Water and Enforcement Act was further expanded in 1979 and in 1986 to lower the "allowed levels" and also include cautions about the use of lead in crystal goblets and etc., and made more stringent in 1991.

Ceramic products made in the US after 1971 are okay. Imported wares were and are a problem and it was the importers who were required to recall these wares.
As late as the late 1990s dinnerware imported from other countries was found to be contaminated with harmful amounts of lead that could leach into acid foods.

Lead will not leach out of ceramics unless there is acid in the food. Stews that are cooked without wine or another acid will not leach lead or other heavy metals (cadmium).

A decades-long study was done at several universities, including UC San Diego, that mostly studied ceramics from Mexico and Central America.

The FDA did not begin monitoring lead content until 1971 but there had been studies carried out at various universities since the 1930s (also testing for radioactivity).


So, if you have an older Rival Crockpot or other slow cooker that is identified as Made in USA and it is white or "natural" color- beige or ivory, it is highly unlikely it contains any lead.
The unglazed terra cotta stuff has never been found to contain lead or cadmium.

The lead is in the colored glazes, red, black, blue, green, dark brown, in foreign ceramics made prior to 1997, when controls were tightened significantly.

Edited by andiesenji, 27 January 2012 - 03:10 PM.

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#15 andiesenji

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 03:16 PM



However, while at the shop, a rather spectacularly eagle-eye'd individual noticed that my garage sale crock pot had been recalled for lead contamination....in the 1990s.

Your questions are way beyond my ken, but I did catch the 'lead contamination' bit. Three of my crockpots are old and I'd like to know where they stand in this issue. Please. Don't leave us all hanging.

Thanks.


Here is a link with detailed information about the Rival crock pot recall. I just realized mine was affected.

http://www.rivalrecall.com/



That is not a recall for lead content. It is a recall because of electrical problems in the base.
Note: it says to keep the liner and lid as only the base will be replaced.


I know because I have one (the 5445) and did get the base replaced and the liner is just fine.



P.S. If you are going to be cooking sous vide, with the food sealed in packages, you will not have any possibility of lead leaching into the food.
The lead and/or cadmium (worse than lead) only leaches out of glazes when exposed to acid content above a certain level.
The testing was done with pure acetic acid in concentrations ranging from 30% down to 6% according to one study.
That percentage is pretty high. The acid level in a typical meat dish that has tomatoes and possibly wine added, would be around 3% at most.
Pure tomatoes would be high enough and there are some other foods - pickles, etc.

Edited by andiesenji, 27 January 2012 - 03:26 PM.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening