Microwaves & plastics - A reader comment

An interesting reader comment which I thought was worth sharing with all. Question is what do you store food in the friedge in then?

"for the love of food and for all the food-porn you have been constantly treating us to, I have to say two things - 1. Please do not store fish or any food item in plastics in the freezer( even if it comes with " safe to microwave" labels. It is not. Do not microwave food in any kind of plastics. Plastics / tupperware are only to store dry items for a short period. My uncle is a leading oncologist in the country and it comes from his published papers. So I am passing this on to you for good health, long life and so we keep getting our daily dose of food porn ;)

2. Here is how you can cook crabs - my all time fav- http://www.aayisrecipes.com/2006/05/24/crabs-gravykurle-ambat/

There are more here too :



Try it, you wont regret!1

15 February 2011 02:20"


Sassy Fork said…
what should we store fish in?
Anonymous said…
Hi Kalyan,

Sorry, I missed to include the solution right after the suggestion for change :)

The answer to your question is : Glassware!

Buy plain ( colorless), microwavable ( this should be thick glass not the wine glass material). You can also use corning ware, melamine, Pyrex etc. I cannot tell you where exactly you will find it in Bombay, but many of my cousins and friends have bought it in India and use ONLY those for microwaving, thawing and storing. I have educated my friends and relatives about the same and they all are in different parts of India, did not have any trouble finding the microwave/ freezer safe utensils. Plastic leches into the food no matter how it is argued. Heat and cold temperatures help the leching process. And we all know that no matter how much you cook, plastic cannot be separated from food when mixed, unlike killing germs in the food by cooking. So gets consumed.

Here are some examples of the utensils for your idea. I am sure you will find them in any mall in Bombay :


Don't they look just like the ones you store fish in? except this is not plastic. They also come with lids for your convenience. Just remember to open the lid and cover with paper napkin when you are microwaving/thawing/cooking etc. It is very convenient to store and use and reuse multiple times.

You use it exactly what you use those plastics for right now. You can store, do microwave heating, do microwave cooking, thaw, defrost and bake.

I bought mine in Walmart here in US. I am sure you'll find it somewhere too.

Here are some more examples :


It is a little expensive than plastic. But it lasts longer and does not change shape over time like plastics do. It is glass after all. It is totally worth the time and money you invest for better living and better health. Please let me know if you have any more questions. I will answer to the best of my knowledge.

PS: I am in no way connected to any of the microwave/fridge storage utensils business. I am just another girl next door who got educated by her uncle and I try to pass the info on to others.

Keep blogging, I not only love the topics and pictures you blog on but the little tidbits and insights you throw in about whatever topic you choose to post that day :)

Anonymous said…
oops, missed to add in that same applies for cling wraps and ziplocks. They both should not go into the microwave too.

Am i going to get banned from your blog now?? :-)

Sassy Fork said…
Manu,you should write your own blog!
Anonymous said…
Sassy Fork - I'm going to take it as a compliment! :)

spiceandmore said…
I support the glassware option. I have a big drawer full of the clear glass pyrex dishes (get stackable ones would be my advice) - they are the rectangular ones with a plastic lid. The plastic lid does not touch the food and it comes off before the dish goes into the microwave or oven - I just cover the dish with a plate if it needs covering. The plastic lid means that the food is pretty well sealed in the container while it is in the fridge or freezer. Works for me.
Kalyan Karmakar said…
Banned? This is a very useful discussion Manu that's why I made it into a post :)
kaniska said…
very relevant and very useful info. this has been making the rounds for some time now. there is every intention of changing the storage and microwave containers to glass ones. general ennui prevents. but this certainly has given me the impetus to go out and get some. plenty options available in india.
Anonymous said…
I dont know whether I got it right from the post and the comments on teh post BUT Melamine is a NO NO! They crack/chip and make funny noises.
- Ips
Kalyani said…
Can the glass sustain the temperature fluctuation.... from fridge to MW oven.... without cracking?
I agree with sassy u shld write ur own blog

excellent info

as a principle I never use plastic in microwave apart from that 1 min heating, I do store in ziplocks though but I usually thaw my meat in the fridge before putting it in microwave so shld be ok....

no plastic is 100% safe for cooking in micro
Pinku said…
thanks Manu and Knife for posting this.
Debopriyo said…
Sorry K,

I don't agree with this. The entire concept of plastics having carcinogens or emitting carcinogens due to microwaving is utter poppycock.

Polypropylene or PP, the plastics that is used to make these containers are made from polymerizing propylene, a gas that contains carbon and hydrogen. The additives are FDA approved. Where will the carcinogens come from.

By the way, the surgical implants like joints are made from similar kinds of plastics. Would someone put an implant like an artificial knee inside the body if it was carcinogenic?
Anonymous said…
I am glad my suggestion helped to a certain extent.

My take on what Debopriyo said would be simple - okay, do not listen to anyone. Just try using the "microwave safe" plastic for heating AND cooking your food every SINGLE day for every single meal in the microwave for 30 days. Do the same with glassware. compare the results. The "microwave safe" plastic will leave a rather corroded bottom and you will easily see that the original firmness and shape has not been retained. Also the clear plastic you once bought would have turned cloudy and yellowish ( pls use turmeric in your food for this test) and your glassware will be shiny as new in the exact same shape. Will not absorb/retain color or vice versa leach it's contents into the food. For a quick test, try cooking ( not just reheating for faster results) any subzi that has turmeric in it for 30 days. Does it seem normal to you that if something can be retained and absorbed, then there is possibility that during that process something else can be diffused back into the food as well? After this test, you wont need a doctor or anyone to confirm anything. You can rely on your own observation. It is really upto you to make a life choice. I or no one else can force others. It is in my own experiences that I have changed from plastics to glassware. I naively used plastics when I was a newly married bride and slowly but steadily ( over a year or little more) observed that my plastics did not retain the original shape I bought it in. Also the turmeric stains never went away. I am not sure how much your m/w usage is per day. But this WILL happen eventually when you least notice.

oh and FDA approved does not mean we can blindly consume everything. I insist, you read their disclaimer - " Because of inherent limitations of science, FDA can never be absolutely certain of the absence of any risk from the use of any substance." I can do a whole topic on FDA. While they are the gatekeepers of any new product in the market, they cleverly DO NOT gaurentee that their approval equates 100% safety. It is up to your discretion they say. I could give you sooo many examples and reasons for FDA approvals and failures. But I think I have already used enough blog space from Kalyan's even though he is being kind enough to let me. :)

As for those plastics in the knee - I am no doctor , but we do not cook or freeze the knee that has the plastic :-) Please note, we are talking about extreme temperatures that makes plastic a bad candidate from a health perspective. Using plastic by itself is not bad ( unless you want to go green, which is a different topic). I serve toast/fruits/chuda/cakes/ rotis and subzi/fish curry etc etc at room temperature on plastic plates for my family/friends for chai. Nothing wrong. I have all my pulses/lentils/flours/dry beans etc and 90% of my pantry stored in plastics. Works great!

Again, knowledge is power guys and we all know that. Use at your own discretion and what suits you best. I am only answering the questions to the best of my knowledge and experience. Nothing I said here is hearsay and I truly don't mean to hurt anyone's thought which might not concur with mine :)

Anonymous said…
To Kalyan's question, you are right. Glass is not so good with withstanding sudden changes in temperatures. Once I take my glassware out from the freezer I either thaw it on the counter or defrost it in the m/w. This does not nuke the food suddenly, it gradually heats it up so the food is not hard anymore. I am not sure of the m/w back home, but some may come with a defrost option. Else if I plan ahead I like to ideally take out the stuff from freezer to fridge the day before and it thaws wonderfully. Same applies reverse too. When you have just baked or cooked in glassware, the glass breaks if placed under running water immediately. Let it sit for 10 mins before you do that. I have been in a hurry and broken couple of my bakeware this way. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said…
oops- typos- meant to say Kalyani's question
Kalyan Karmakar said…
We used plastic in the years after our wedding. Because glass was a lot more expensive. Yes, plastic did get yellow and deformed eventually. Come to think of it the glass baking dishes that we use now are gifts too :) But hey, I have grown up on fish was stored on washed and reused mother dairy milk poly-packs. And dishes washed in ash. It was called the 80s
Anonymous said…
The variation in temperature (freezer to oven etc) is not a problem if it is tempered glass such as pyrex. Standard glass may crack in the freezer.
As to the sceptics out there re the dangers of plastic - guess we each have to make our own choices based on the best information we can find. For a long, long time (many decades after the evidence was clearly in about the dangers), the government agencies authorised the use and debunked the dangers of asbestos. And plenty more like that. In a decade or two you might find the same warnings come out about plastics. In fact in some countries those warnings are already government sanctioned.