Is It Safe to Eat Hot Food in Plastic?

Is It Safe to Eat Hot Food in Plastic?

If you’re trying to find out whether it’s safe to eat food from containers that are made from plastics, this guide will show you the best practices. Is it safe to eat hot food in plastic? Whether or not it’s safe will always depend on what kind of plastic is used for the container and how hot the food was when it was first placed in the container.

It’s not safe to eat hot food from a plastic container. When hot foods come into contact with plastic, chemicals can leach into the food and cause illness. Always use oven-safe glass or ceramic dishes to be safe for hot and cold foods.

Plastic containers for hot food must be labeled “Heat Resistant.” In addition, the plastics used must meet FDA requirements. If you use a microwave, ensure the lid can accommodate hot temperatures or check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

However, according to Consumer Reports and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is no evidence that any harmful effects on health or safety have resulted from eating hot food or beverages in plastic containers.

Is It Safe to Eat Hot Food in Plastic?

Is It Safe to Eat Hot Food in Plastic?Some plastic wraps contain chemicals known as phthalates, which are found in some perfumes and nail polish removers. These chemicals mimic hormones the body uses to regulate itself, so they can throw off our internal balance when they’re in contact with the body. 

The longer the chemicals contact us, the worse our internal conditions get. So it is because phthalates can affect how cells function and our hormones behave.

Researchers increasingly recognize them as endocrine disruptors that interfere with living things’ hormonal systems.

Furthermore, plastic wraps don’t just contain phthalates; they can also contain BPA (Bisphenol A), a chemical used to make plastics stronger and more flexible. BPA is linked to various health problems, including cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Research has also linked BPA to low sperm counts in men and premature puberty in girls.

While most plastics have been approved for food contact, some have been found to contain substances that could be harmful if ingested or absorbed through the skin. It can happen when these substances migrate from the plastic into the food or drink you consume.

Some chemicals destroy hormones in the body, and others can cause cancer. Because of this, health experts recommend avoiding foods heated in plastic containers or wrapped in plastic wrap whenever possible.

Does Hot Food in Plastic Containers Cause Cancer

It is a popular belief that hot foods in plastic containers cause cancer. It is not supported by current research. The type of hot food or drink is a significant factor; for example, eating hot soup from a plastic container may differ from drinking a hot, liquid calorie-filled drink from the same container. 

Although many materials that come in contact with food, such as paper, aluminum, and plastic, can release potentially harmful chemicals. There has been media attention recently on BPA and other chemicals in plastic. 

But another chemical is also raising concern about Phthalates. Phthalates make plastically pliable to create clear containers typically found in the foods section at your supermarket.

However, studies on the effects of microwaving food in plastic containers found that some chemicals can leach into the contents. The only way to prevent these leachates is to use glassware or ceramics, which provide an inert and safe barrier between the food and the container.

Is It Safe to Put Hot Soup in Plastic Containers?

It’s not safe to put hot soup in plastic containers. The reason is that some plastics are designed to be used only with cold or room-temperature food or liquids. When used with hot food, the materials in the plastic can break down over time and leach into your food. 

One easy way to tell if a container is meant for hot food is by looking at the bottom to see if it has a microwave symbol. Still, not all plastic containers have this symbol, so it’s always best to double-check what your container is made of before heating your leftovers.

Meanwhile, some plastics can melt if you leave the hot soup in them too long. However, many plastic containers you may use to store your food are safe for hot liquids as long as the container is manufactured for this purpose. Pay attention to the container package and always check to ensure it remains intact.

However, if you put your soup into a plastic container in the fridge, condensation will form outside the plastic container, not your food. It can cause mold, especially if the plastic touching your food is warm. 

Although, putting your soup into an airtight container with a lid will prevent condensation from forming and touching your food.

Can You Put Hot Food in Rubbermaid Containers?

Can You Put Hot Food in Rubbermaid ContainersYou can put hot food in Rubbermaid containers. Then, if a recipe calls for you to preheat your container, you can just put the container in the oven or microwave before you start cooking. You’ll want to ensure that the maximum temperature you heat it is no higher than 300 F, though, not to damage the plastic.

The Rubbermaid containers are BPA-free, so you don’t have to worry about leaching chemicals into your food. Additionally, many of their containers are dishwasher-safe.

However, you shouldn’t put a container inside the microwave with a lid on top because steam can get trapped and cause the container to explode.

Which Plastics Are Safe for Food Storage

There’s a lot of talk about what plastic is safe to use for food storage and which kinds might leach harmful chemicals into your food. So here is a guide to which plastics are safe for food storage and why.

1. Polypropylene (PP)

This type of plastic has the recycling number 5 on it and is safe for food storage.

2. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

This type of plastic has the recycling number 4 on it and is also safe for food storage. This one is microwave-safe but not dishwasher-safe or freezer-safe.

3. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

This type of plastic has the recycling number 2 on it, and you can use it safely for food storage. It’s also microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe, and freezer-safe.

To be extra cautious, you can even look up the type of plastic used in your food containers and see how stable it is when exposed to heat or cold. If your food is stored at room temperature or below (such as in a refrigerator or freezer), you should use plastics that have been stabilized for lower temperatures.

Remember to check the bottom of your container if you’re unsure what type of plastic it’s made of.

Does Plastic Leach into Frozen Food

Does Plastic Leach into Frozen FoodWhile it is true that plastic does sometimes leach into frozen food, it depends on the type of food and the type of plastic.

The riskiest materials for storing frozen food are polystyrene foam, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plastics. It’s safest to use plastics labeled 1, 2, 4, or 5 when freezing food.

Furthermore, plastic containers with a recycling code of 3 should never be used to freeze food. Make sure any container you’re using is intended for freezing food and has been approved by the FDA.

Plastic typically leaches less in solid foods than in liquids. So, for example, plastic water bottles may be more likely to leach into the water than plastic bags are to leach into broccoli florets.

Leaching is also less common in cold temperatures if you use a safe plastic container for freezing food. However, as temperatures increase, so does the risk of leaching. Therefore, reheating frozen food in plastic containers may expose you to even more risks from chemicals since the temperature is warmer.

Also, some plastics are more prone to cracking under extremely low temperatures. In those cases (which tend to be for temporary storage only), you might consider transferring your items from those containers into something more permanent before putting them in the freezer.

Disadvantages of Storing Food in Plastic Containers

Disadvantages of Storing Food in Plastic ContainersPlastic containers are widely used to store food, but they have some disadvantages to keep in mind.

1. Many plastics contain BPA. This chemical can leach into your food, negatively affect your hormones, and cause other health problems.

2. Plastic containers leach chemicals into acidic foods like tomato sauce. Even if the container does not contain BPA, it may leach chemicals into your food.

3. Plastics break down over time, releasing chemicals. Even new plastic containers can leach small amounts of chemicals into your food.

4. Plastic containers are difficult and expensive to recycle, so most are in landfills or the ocean.

5. Plastic containers can break down over time, especially when heated or exposed to sunlight. 

6. BPA can leach out of the plastic and into your food. Studies have linked BPA to heart disease, diabetes, reproductive problems, and cancer.


Is it safe to eat hot food in plastic? There’s no reason to think that plastic containers cause cancer or other illnesses.

If you don’t already know this, it may be worth avoiding heating your food in plastic containers when it’ll be consumed in a short amount of time and not stored for later. That makes sense, but there’s no real reason for concern.

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