Okay, so you just found out that you might have accidentally cooked plastic with food and are wondering what to do… Relax and don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re not the first to make that mistake, especially if it had anything to do with cooking meat and plastic wrappings or absorbent pads.
A fair number of hotline inquiries regarding cooking mishaps tend to be concerning this matter, so you are not alone in this. The advancement of different types of plastic containers and wrappings in the culinary world and their availability in every household makes such accidents more likely to occur.
Whether you mistakenly overheated a plastic container or forgot to remove the plastic wrapping before turning on the heat, now that you’re here let’s take a look at what you should do after accidentally cooking plastic with food and what it could mean for you.
Accidentally Cooked Plastic with Food? Here’s What to Do
STOP PANICKING… This is truly the first thing to do if you realize you accidentally cooked plastic with food. Panic clouds your judgment and may trigger other things like your blood pressure if you’re hypertensive, or even lead to a panic attack.
Remember that any plastic approved for use with food is non-toxic and of a safer quality than other types of plastic. The most probable harm that could befall you would be to choke on the piece of plastic but that is rather unlikely.
The next thing to do if you haven’t eaten the food already is to check how much plastic got into the food and if it can be separated. This should be relatively easy to do as plastic doesn’t completely melt at most of the temperatures, we cook at but become softened.
If the amount of plastic is negligible and does not change the aroma or flavor of the food in any way, simply remove it from the food and discard it. On the other hand, if a large quantity of plastic melted into the food or the food’s aroma or fragrance has changed, discard immediately.
For absorbent pads from meat trays that are accidentally cooked with food, inspect the absorbent pad to check if it is torn or open in any way. If it isn’t, your food is most likely safe to eat, but if the absorbent pad is open or torn in any way no matter how small, discard the food immediately.
Accidentally Burned Plastic on Stove? What to Do
It’s easy to find yourself forgetting that your stovetop is hot and leaving plastic unattended on it. The result is usually melted plastic that can ruin your kitchen experience if not properly taken care of. Here’s how to get rid of plastic accidentally burned on a stove.
Using Baking Soda and Vinegar
- Make sure the stove is turned off.
- Pour a generous amount of baking soda on the melted plastic, completely covering it.
- Using a spray bottle, spray some vinegar on the baking soda until it is completely soaked.
- Scrub with a scouring pad for a few seconds.
- Spray some more vinegar on it.
- Continue to scrub with the scouring pad until the plastic comes off.
- Clean with a microfiber towel
The melted plastic will come off easily from your stove using this baking soda and vinegar method, you can watch a video tutorial of how to use this method here:
Other Ways to Get Rid of Burned Plastic from Stove
One way is to reheat the stove so that the heat softens most of the plastic, then you can scrape it off gently using a putty knife and proceed to clean up any residue with an oven/stove-top solvent agent. All that is left thereafter is to clean the stove using soapy detergent and a microfiber towel.
Another way is to apply a degreasing agent on the spot, allow it to work for a few minutes, then scrape off the melted plastic using a scraping tool. In using any method of removal that involves scraping, be careful not to scratch your stove. Read more on how to get rid of accidentally burned plastic from stoves and ovens here.
What Happens If You Eat Food Cooked in Plastic?
Nothing in most cases; depending on the kind of plastic used. Most plastic used in cooking or microwaving food has been graded as non-toxic and safe for use, so if you eat food cooked in them you will be fine. It is however advised that you limit consumption of food cooked in plastic as much as possible.
Can You Still Eat Food If Plastic Has Melted?
Depends… If only a little amount of plastic melted into the food and it does not change the aroma or flavor of the food in any way, you can remove it and eat the food. If a large quantity of plastic melted into the food or the food’s aroma or fragrance has changed, do not eat the food, discard it immediately instead.
What Happens If You Cook Meat with Plastic?
Cooking in plastic is safe enough and not a big deal if it is plastic approved for cooking and microwaving, your meat cooked with plastic will still be safe to eat – try to ensure that no part of the plastic melts and sticks to the meat. If you happen to cook meat with the absorbent pads that usually come with store-bought options, so long as the absorbent pad has not torn, broken, or melted in any way, your meat is still safe to eat.
What Should I Do If I Ate Melted Plastic?
If you suspect you’ve eaten melted plastic, here’s what you should do;
- Don’t panic.
- Allow your body to digest your meal as it should – plastic is not digestible and will be passed out normally when you use the toilet.
- If you feel any abdominal pains or discomfort and suspect the piece of plastic is stuck somewhere, visit your health care provider immediately.