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Plastic Food Film plus oven = danger?


steverino
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I am currently working for a catering company, and the chef likes to put film, then foil over hotel pans before cooking rice, beans, meat, etc. The wrapped pans are then put into convection ovens at temps from 250 - 350F.

Could any person of science enlighten me as to potential hazards? I've searched the internet and found nothing of much use.

If possible, please enlighten me. Citations and / or links to studies would be greatly appreciated as well.

Thanks!

Steve

"Tell your friends all around the world, ain't no companion like a blue - eyed merle" Robert Plant

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We cover our hotel pans (with veal meatballs inside) with plastic, then foil then oven at 200 for several hours. No real complaints of food poisoning or anything at that sort yet. Though, then again this is at 200 not 250-300... When removed from the oven, the plastic is obviously hot, though did not rip or anything. Traps all the moisture inside.

Not sure if I would tell you to do a trial run and see if anyone gets sick... Buttt...if you're weary, just use all foil and crimp it very tight, usually does the trick.

Jim

On a side note; my chef always made me put the foil, shiny side down to "reflect" the heat back in. I thought it was just some weird bs peeve of his..but haven't found anything to support/contrast this tidbit yet.

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I've always thought the whole plastic wrap thing was a myth.

A terrine recipe in Charcuterie (M. Ruhlman) instructs you to line the inside of your terrine mold with plastic wrap before filling and baking. Personally I've done this numerous times before.

For years people have been make impromptu sausages and tamales with plastic wrap.

This is a quote from Rolf Halden, PhD, PE, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and the Center for Water and Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:

OC&PA: What about cooking with plastics?

RH: In general, whenever you heat something you increase the likelihood of pulling chemicals out. Chemicals can be released from plastic packaging materials like the kinds used in some microwave meals. Some drinking straws say on the label “not for hot beverages.” Most people think the warning is because someone might be burned. If you put that straw into a boiling cup of hot coffee, you basically have a hot water extraction going on, where the chemicals in the straw are being extracted into your nice cup of coffee. We use the same process in the lab to extract chemicals from materials we want to analyze.

If you are cooking with plastics or using plastic utensils, the best thing to do is to follow the directions and only use plastics that are specifically meant for cooking. Inert containers are best, for example heat-resistant glass, ceramics and good old stainless steel.

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I have seen plastic wrap used in commercial steamers with no ill effects.

Also, we have a quick tomatillo salsa recipe from a Mexican friend that involves microwaving them in a bag which is obviously boiling at the end.

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On a side note; my chef always made me put the foil, shiny side down to "reflect" the heat back in. I thought it was just some weird bs peeve of his..but haven't found anything to support/contrast this tidbit yet.

I believe this was covered in an episode of "MythBusters" (or some other program on the Discovery Channel). A spokesman for Reynolds Aluminum said the orientation of the facing (the shiny side) doesn't make any difference when cooking.

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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Thanks, all!

The whole foil thing is curious to me as well - the chef also has a thing about "shiny side down".

I don't know if this could be another topic or not, but I'm going to do a little looking into that as well.

Peace-

Steve

"Tell your friends all around the world, ain't no companion like a blue - eyed merle" Robert Plant

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The whole foil thing is curious to me as well - the chef also has a thing about "shiny side down".

I don't know if this could be another topic or not, but I'm going to do a little looking into that as well.

I think the explanation I heard is that it doesn't matter which side is on the side of the heat, because the heat has to pass through both surfaces anyway. If the shiny side is facing away from the heat, it will still reflect heat inside the aluminum, as strange as that may sound. Sort of like looking through glass that's frosted on only one side - you still can't see through it even if you stand on the smooth side.

-- There are infinite variations on food restrictions. --

Crooked Kitchen - my food blog

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I was wondering the same thing just yesterday as I read a recipe in the Julia and Jacques cookbook for homemade sausage that instructs you to roll the sausage mix in plastic wrap instead of casing, create a tight cylinder, then wrap again in aluminum foil. Then when you bake you submerge in a water bath at around 250 or so. So, I worried about cooking with the plastic wrap, but also if this will be waterproof enough?

Edited by pam claughton (log)
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