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Kitchen Equipment

Can trash cans be used for food preparation or storage?

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Metal galvanized trash containers should not be used for food preparation. Galvanizing is the process of electrolytically coating iron metal with zinc, which protects the iron from rusting. Zinc is one of several heavy metals which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. When acid foods like fruit juices, tomatoes, or pickles are placed in galvanized containers, toxic amounts of zinc can be found in the solution. Symptoms of zinc toxicity are fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea in three to twelve hours following ingestion. 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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