Is it safe to use plastic wrap in boiling water?

  • While I've come across one or two recipes that call for using plastic wrap in pots of boiling water (for example, to cook eggs), I've always been a bit wary of putting the wrap in boiling water. Can someone confirm or deny whether it is safe (or a good idea) to put plastic wrap in boiling water?

    Also note that there are two, possibly three things that plastic wrap may be made from: PVC, PE (polyethylene), and possibly PP (polypropylene). I believe most of the leaching concerns have been from PVC-based plastic wrap.

    My question takes this a bit further but is relevant and hopefully useful https://cooking.stackexchange.com/q/74244/10938

  • paprika

    paprika Correct answer

    10 years ago

    Official:

    No definitive answer, there are different governing bodies and plastic wraps (cling films) in the US/Europe. There are also different plastic wraps for different purposes, microwave safe, safe for use with fatty foods, so on. Whether its safe or not will depend on the product used and most likely the time boiled for. The UKs Food Standard Agency said no (in 2012!) broken link - "Do not use cling films where they may melt into the food, such as in conventional ovens or with pots and pans on cooker hobs". The cling film industry are understandably much more positive.

    Practical:

    I've poached eggs using cling film for ages and I'm still here. Read the plastic wrap boxes for warnings and choose the plastic wrap that's most suited. Poach an egg as described here (as of 2016, link requires registration to read) and check if the wrap comes away cleanly, If so you're good. I'd revisit this advice if your recipe called for cooking like this for longer than 5-10 minutes, there are likely more suitable products/recipes for extensive boil-in-the-bag manoeuvres.

    EDIT
    Many meals have passed, I'm less gung-ho on heating cling film/plastics. It's amusingly still as contentious as ever and I certainly wouldn't brush the film with butter/oil/fat. My totally unscientific advice now would be learn how to poach an egg properly, It's fun, tasty, and significantly less boring than reading this answer. I like Ocaasi's answer, FWIW.

    So if bits of the egg are clinging to the wrap after boiling, is this a good or a bad thing? I'm going to guess...bad?

    You should brush the inside of the cling film with melted butter or oil prior to poaching. see the link in my post.

    Sadly, that link no longer works... I wonder if this because they have just removed that page or if the advice is no longer valid?

    @Dave thanks - I had a quick search and I've changed my own approach, see answer edit.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM