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Using Rubbermaid storage containers for food


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Is it safe to store food in Rubbermaid products that are not specifically made for food? I am having a hard time sourcing a container large enough for my purposes in the food storage line. I don't have a restaurant supply store near me and I need something pretty quickly (so no time to order one online). Anyone know if the non-food storage is a different material or not?

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I believe you can tell by the recycling number which should be on the bottom of all plastics, in the triangle of arrows. It is my understanding that 1 & 2 are food safe. Number 7 is definitely not.

The following link has a good explanation of the codes:

http://ecovillagegreen.com/2009/04/what-do-the-plastic-recycling-numbers-mean/

Edited by maurdel (log)
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I believe you can tell by the recycling number which should be on the bottom of all plastics, in the triangle of arrows. It is my understanding that 1 & 2 are food safe. Number 7 is definitely not.

The following link has a good explanation of the codes:

http://ecovillagegreen.com/2009/04/what-do-the-plastic-recycling-numbers-mean/

Thanks for that. It's a 5 so it appears to be safe.

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I wouldn't rely on this blog post to determine if a container is safe for the storage and transportation of food to be served to people. I'd suggest you contact your local Board of Health to confirm that the usage you intend is appropriate for food service.

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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PP is itself pretty inert. Its the standard material for washing-up bowls, for example.

However, "food safe" concerns more than the bulk material. Other stuff like colourings, mould release agents and even fillers come into safety.

These shouldn't affect recyclability, but could impact food safety.

Maybe a silly suggestion, but plural smaller containers are more easily lifted and transported (full), stored (empty) and more likely to be used more often, than one giant one.

For storage, I'd be fussy about "food safe".

But for mixing up a large batch of something, where (not hot) food is only going to be in contact with the material for a very few minutes, I'd be quite relaxed about using any nice clean PP vessel.

The hotter the food contacting the plastic, and the longer the contact, the more I'd be concerned about the possibility of tainting or more insidious contamination.

Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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I wouldn't rely on this blog post to determine if a container is safe for the storage and transportation of food to be served to people. I'd suggest you contact your local Board of Health to confirm that the usage you intend is appropriate for food service.

I am not serving to the public so I am not worried about legality. I don't trust the government to have real facts but rather just poorly supported decisions made by poorly equipped bureaucrats and lawyer politicians.

Government regularly declares things that are perfectly safe "unsafe."

For example, transfats were painted with such a horrible brush that they were virtually eliminated from the food supply. New research has been unable to repeat the findings of the study that caused the initial scare and that intitial study has been shown to be riddled with errors.

New York has an idiot politician trying to ban salt from restaurants.

Sous vide cooking was considered unsafe and extremely dangerous by a great many departments of health.

I am not saying that the blog post is correct just that I trust a well researched webpage at least as much as a government agency.

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PP is itself pretty inert. Its the standard material for washing-up bowls, for example.

However, "food safe" concerns more than the bulk material. Other stuff like colourings, mould release agents and even fillers come into safety.

These shouldn't affect recyclability, but could impact food safety.

Maybe a silly suggestion, but plural smaller containers are more easily lifted and transported (full), stored (empty) and more likely to be used more often, than one giant one.

For storage, I'd be fussy about "food safe".

But for mixing up a large batch of something, where (not hot) food is only going to be in contact with the material for a very few minutes, I'd be quite relaxed about using any nice clean PP vessel.

The hotter the food contacting the plastic, and the longer the contact, the more I'd be concerned about the possibility of tainting or more insidious contamination.

Plural for me is more difficult because I will be adding more mixed up ingredients over several days and it's more difficult to deal with this process with multiple containers. The container I was going to use is not all that big (about 2 1/2 gallons). It's just the food containers I have found are either oddly shaped or too small.

The container I was thinking of using is clear and will be in a refrigerator at all times. It also will only be used for storing the food for about a week.

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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Just how much are you trying to store? What are you trying to store?

I'm aging dough for a week or so. When fully risen, it is about 2 1/4 gallons. The problem I'm finding is that all of the food storage is either too tall and skinny for me to be able to really get my hands in to work in new ingredients or it is really shallow and flour gets everywhere when I try to work with it.

I am sure there are plenty of food storage containers that would work but they are just not available at the 3 stores near my house. I am going to have to start the dough tonight so I can't drive into the city to go to the restaurant supply store.

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Can you split the dough between 2 containers and do you have a Target anywhere close to you? Target sells jumbo size 2 1/2 gallon Hefty zip top bags. They may be available elsewhere but that is the only place I know to get them.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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Can you split the dough between 2 containers and do you have a Target anywhere close to you? Target sells jumbo size 2 1/2 gallon Hefty zip top bags. They may be available elsewhere but that is the only place I know to get them.

It's much more difficult to do multiple containers because it's hard to keep the hydration levels the same without treating them as seperate batches. I don't think a zip top would work because the dough needs to breathe and I'd prefer a container that can stand on its own.

I may just have to drive into town. It will put me behind several hours tonight but it's better than worrying about safety.

Edited: Spelling

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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I would just phone Rubbermaid, and ask about the particular container you wish to use.

FWIW, I have stored food in the transluscent rubbermaid tubs, and have not died yet.

Rubbermaid.com Orders & Returns

Toll-Free: (866) 271-9249 - Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern

USA & International - Rubbermaid, Inc. Home Products & Food Storage Divisions

Attn: Consumer Service - 3320 West Market Street - Fairlawn, Ohio 44333 USA

Please do not ship packages to this address as they can not be received.

Toll-Free: (888) 895-2110 - Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern

Rubbermaid Builders

Please visit www.rubbermaidpro.com for contact information.

Rubbermaid Commercial Products

Please visit www.rcpworksmarter.com for contact information.

Rubbermaid Canada

Attn: Consumer Service Dept - 2562 Stanfield Rd - Mississauga, ON L4Y1S5

Toll-Free: (866) 595-0525 - Fax: (905) 279-5254

Karen Dar Woon

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I would just phone Rubbermaid, and ask about the particular container you wish to use.

FWIW, I have stored food in the transluscent rubbermaid tubs, and have not died yet.

I called them before my original post and all they would tell me is that the container I was asking about was not from the food storage line (which I knew already).

Update: I called again and this time got someone a bit more helpful. This person said that all Rubbermaid Roughneck products comply with food additive regulation for olefin polymers. Any idea what that means?

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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... This person said that all Rubbermaid Roughneck products comply with food additive regulation for olefin polymers. Any idea what that means?

Polypropylene (PP) and Polyethylene (PE, polythene) are examples of "olefin polymers".

Trust that's the bit that was confusing you!

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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... This person said that all Rubbermaid Roughneck products comply with food additive regulation for olefin polymers. Any idea what that means?

Polypropylene (PP) and Polyethylene (PE, polythene) are examples of "olefin polymers".

Trust that's the bit that was confusing you!

Actually, I was just wondering if that meant it's safe to use for food.

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Pretty much everything that's not obviously not food safe is effectively food safe at this point. Enough people have stored food in rubbermaid containers that, if they were dangerous, enough people would have died already to have caused a massive uproar and recall.

PS: I am a guy.

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Pretty much everything that's not obviously not food safe is effectively food safe at this point. Enough people have stored food in rubbermaid containers that, if they were dangerous, enough people would have died already to have caused a massive uproar and recall.

This was my original thought. I imagine that if they were truly unsafe the lawyers would have them put "Not for food storage" in giant letters on the label.

I ended up borrowing something from a friend just to be safe.

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Too late for your current project, but for the future ... next time you are in town, ask at a supermarket or bakery if they sell or give away the big pails that bulk supplies such as fillings, molasses, oils come in. Those are, of course, food safe, and big stores go through lots of them.

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I am not serving to the public so I am not worried about legality. I don't trust the government to have real facts but rather just poorly supported decisions made by poorly equipped bureaucrats and lawyer politicians.

Wow, I don't remember typing this, but it sounds exactly like something I would say. :wink:

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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