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Practices -- Cooking

Can I cook a turkey breast that is wrapped in plastic wrap and then wrapped in foil?

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No. The key hazards associated with this practice would be possible chemical or physical hazards associated with the plastic film melting. These hazards are not likely to occur if the film is completely covered by the foil. For example, Sara Wrap Brand Plastic Film states on its package label "Best Wrap for your Microwave - Withstands high temperatures without melting like other wraps. Not for use in browning units, conventional ovens, stovetops, or toaster ovens." My opinion is that they are recommending that their plastic film not be used in conventional cooking units because it can ignite if it comes in contact with the heating element. The likelihood of exposed plastic film coming in contact with the heating element is great. This could result in a fire, which is probably the most significant hazard associated with this practice. The other concern is that some plastic films are not designed to withstand high temperatures and so will break down when exposed to heat. The chemicals that make up the plastic film are not deemed to be safe and so the food exposed to this melted plastic should not be consumed. An example of this is butter tubs. Butter tubs are not designed to withstand high temperatures. Thus, they melt when used as a reheating container in the microwave oven. Read the package label to determine if the film you are using can be used in a microwave oven.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004

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