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Storing Food

As mentioned in the Preparing Food section, glass is the best material for holding food - and beverages for that matter. Glass can be used for dishes, cereal bowls, drinking glasses, and much more. Ceramic dishes can leach chemicals and lead. Plastic Tupperware may be even worse. There are several different types of plastic used. It can be identified somewhere on the container. One of the chemicals that plastics leach into food is bisphenol A (BPA) which is known to be cancer-causing. #3, #5, #6, and #7 plastics (often plastics that look almost like glass or the big water jugs) usually contain PBA. #2 and #4 are best. #1 is ok if not reused since it promotes the growth of bacteria. Plastic wrap and Styrofoam are especially bad for microwave use. There are also many processed foods that are packaged in cans. Cans are not the best for containing food either since they can leach heavy metals, and the can lining may also contain BPA.

Absorption of carcinogens is going to be higher with certain types of plastic, longer exposure time, liquids as opposed to dry foods, the corrosiveness of the food, and heat. As an example, soda is highly corrosive and can eat away at soda cans or plastic bottles which you will eventually ingest. The difficult part is plastic is so ubiquitous. But try to use other containers when you can. Milk is better in paper cartons, and it also tastes better than the milk in plastic jugs.

  • Glass
  • If plastic must be used, use #2 and #4 and
    choose BPA-free
  • BPA-free cans

  • Most plastics, particularly with microwave use
  • Plastic wrap
  • Styrofoam

For guidance on food storage, visit the USDA's Food Preparation Fact Sheets.