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Is it safe to cook food in clay pots?

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If a consumer does not have the original directions that came with the cookware, suggest they write to the manufacturer for a replacement copy. In general, the top and bottom are soaked for 15 minutes in water. Extreme temperature changes must be avoided to prevent breakage. Some sources said to start the cooking in a cold oven. Products are usually cooked at higher temperatures (as much as 100 degrees higher) for a shorter period of time. Since the clay is porous, special cleaning instructions must be followed to keep them safe for reuse. Do not use clay pots designed for nonfood use. PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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