Plastics are now being extensively used for the packaging of foods and beverages. This is evident on the supermarket shelves: Cooking oil is packed in plastic packets, water in plastic bottles stacked up on store shelves, and meats are packaged in plastic-wrap film on trays.

It is therefore crucial that consumers do not misuse packaging materials in an unplanned or unexpected manner as this may result in greater amounts of chemical migration. The following are some guidelines for safe use of plastic food packaging and containers.

Plastics and oven

Plastic packaging used for commercial packing of food is not suitable for use in ovens. They may catch fire or melt and result in chemical transmission into foods.
Reheating pre-cooked foods in ovens is desirable only if food is packed in oven-friendly packaging.

Plastics and microwave

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Use plastic containers that are tagged as microwave-safe for microwave cooking. Ice-cream tubs are not meant for reheating or cooking food in a microwave or conventional oven. They are not heat protected and chemicals from the plastic may migrate into the food during heating.

Plastic cling films

Avoid using plastic cling films in ovens, as the films may melt into the food and cause harm or just catch fire. Prefer using cling films which are specially designed for microwave oven use.
When re-heating or cooking food in a microwave oven, ensure that the microwave-safe cling film does not touch the food. If the film touches the food, the film could get overly hot and possibly melt or may transfer chemicals into
the food.

Freezing and defrosting in commercial plastic packaging

It is harmless to freeze meat directly in its original commercial plastic wrapping. For long storage, over-wrap the meat tightly with damp proof freezer bags to maintain the quality of the meat.
Do not defrost or cook the meat in its original commercial packaging in a microwave oven, as the plastic packaging may not be microwave-safe.

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