Microwave-safe plastic exists like Tupperware or Rubbermaid food containers. They typically have the FDA-approved microwave-safe label, which means that as long as they’re undamaged and relatively new, they’re as serviceable as glass or ceramic when it comes to heating leftovers or cooking food.
With that in mind, what about plastic wraps like Saran wrap or Kirkland Signature Stretch-Tite Plastic Food Wrap? Are they microwave-safe themselves? So is Kirkland plastic food wrap microwave-safe or not? Here’s the lowdown.
Is Kirkland Plastic Food Wrap Microwave-Safe?
According to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration), plastic wrap like Kirkland’s is safe for microwave use. However, you shouldn’t let the wrap touch the food. Instead, you need to wrap the container and keep the food inside the dish.
The wrap basically serves as the clear or transparent ceiling that shields the interior from food splatter. Kirkland or Saran plastic wrap doubles as lids, but this time they’re more disposable afterwards, thus saving you from being bothered to wash it up afterwards.
Don’t forget to poke holes all over the wrap so that it doesn’t vacuum-seal the food and make it explode due building pressure from the microwaved water content and ensuing steam. The holes serve as its pressure release, in short.
Can You Microwave Plastic Wrap or Not?
According to the FDA and USDA, common plastic wrap from Kirkland to Saran Wrap are all microwave-safe. They’re specifically checked by the two organizations for their heat resistance, ability to avoid melting or catching fire in normal microwave oven temperatures and being BPA-free.
When buying a plastic wrap product, always make sure they have the label and symbol of being microwave-safe on the packaging. The plastic should also be in great condition (not old, crusty, or easily torn).
Only Use New Plastic Wrap
Don’t microwave old plastic wrap. Punctured plastic wrap with pressure holes are okay. Brittle or easy-to-tear plastic wrap shouldn’t be used. You should only use brand new or durable wrap because compromised wrap could exude plasticizers like BPA.
The reason for the poked holes is to release building hot steam or vapor pressure from cooked microwaved meals.
How Come Some Plastics are Safe to Microwave and Some Aren’t?
Food used to be covered with a damp paper towel to absorb splash-back when microwaved. The towels also help seal in the moisture and flavor. Greasy foods like bacon strips and pork chops tend to sizzle, pop, and crackle like they’re being cooked in cooking oil inside the microwave due to its fat.
The less messy and better alternative to covering splattering food than moistened towels is covering them in plastic. Don’t put them into contact with food though. Instead, put the food halfway through the bowl and cover the top of the bowl tautly with Kirkland plastic wrap.
You may also like: Can You Microwave Plastic Wrap? (Yes, but…)
Plastic Isn’t Safe to Microwave, Right?
Not necessarily. Cheap plastic that’s full of BPA, phthalates, and other plasticizers shouldn’t go anywhere near your food because they contaminate it. If you were to superheat your food, the plastics could end up melting or starting a fire, but that’s an unlikely risk.
The more immediate and likelier risk is leaching BPA unto your food. BPA can cause a hormone shift in the body, according to studies. This is why microwaveable plastic containers and wraps advertise themselves as BPA-free.
Kirkland plastic wrap, Saran wrap, and the like don’t leach BPA unto your dishes when you microwave them. They’re also heat resistant and unlikely to catch fire because microwave rays pass through them like sunlight to a pane of transparent glass. That’s why they’re considered microwave-safe by the FDA.
Misinformation about Dioxins and Plastics
Among the earliest concerns regarding microwaving plastic is that the heat from the device releases carcinogens known as dioxins unto food, thus leading to contamination. However, further studies disproved that hypothesis. Plastic doesn’t contain dioxins.
The supposition of plastic leaching dioxins into food comes from the fact that when garbage containing plastic, metal, wood, and other materials is burned, they generate dioxins. As long as you don’t microwave your food in the garbage, you’re good to go.
Plastics are Unlikely to Melt into Dioxins and What Plastics Are
If your microwaved food doesn’t catch fire and melt through the plastic, it’s unlikely it’ll get contaminated by dioxins. Besides which, you have bigger problems to contend with (burnt food that caught fire from microwaving).
Plastic is an umbrella term for different plastic substances because no single substance is known as plastic. Multiple artificial materials made from organic and inorganic compounds are considered plastic. This is why some plastics are microwaveable and others aren’t microwaveable.
Plasticizers Found in Plastic
Dioxins are unlikely to contaminate your dishes when microwaving plastic material unless it catches fire (a distant likelihood). However, plasticizers are proven contaminants that could end up on your food if you’re microwaving cheap plastic food containers that are microwave-unsafe.
Plasticizers are substances that give a specific plastic certain attributes. These chemicals shape and stabilize the artificial material. They’re also likely to end up on your food in certain unstable plastics that aren’t FDA-approved for microwave use.
Two of these chemicals include the following:
- Phthalates: This plasticizer is responsible for making plastic soft and flexible, like those plastic grocery bags and the like.
- Bisphenol-A (BPA): This plasticizer is responsible for creating clear, hard plastic used in containers.
A microwave-safe container has been tested to ensure no trace of BPA or phthalates ends up in your food. The contaminants are worrisome because they’re known as “endocrine disrupters”. When they end up in your body, they could wreak havoc to your health because they can mimic human hormones.
Leaching BPA and phthalate all over your breakfast, lunch, and dinner is likelier to happen on cheese, meats, and other fatty foods compared to non-fatty ones.
In regards to whether or not you can microwave Kirkland Plastic Wrap, yes you can. The main caveat in microwaving is to avoid putting it into contact with the food while heating for the risk of the plastic melting onto the hot food or contaminating it with plasticizers.
Make sure your plastic wrap, like Kirkland’s, has the microwave-safe label. This signifies that the USDA and FDA approval of its use as a food-grade splatter shield or cover when microwaving foods. Don’t forget to puncture holes on the tight plastic as its pressure release.
- “Microwaving food in plastic: Dangerous or not?” Harvard.edu, February 2006
- Christine Gallary, “Is It Safe to Use Plastic Wrap in the Microwave?“, TheKitchn.com, August 11, 2015
- “Kirkland Signature Stretch-Tite Plastic Food Wrap, 12 in x 3,000 ft“, Costco.com, Retrieved August 5, 2021