Plastic wrap over the turkey: Is it safe? No — ignore this recipe.

Plastic wrap over the turkey: Is it safe? No — ignore this recipe.

Here's a turkey recipe I can't recommend. Plastic alert. Very bad idea.


This recipe from the Washington Post published a few years back calls for oven-roasting a turkey that has been wrapped in plastic and then covered with aluminum foil. They tested and found no evidence that the plastic had melted. Well, that's good, but hardly reassuring.

Chemicals migrate from plastic into food long before melting temperatures are reached. Moreover, it's highly likely if not certain that even "food grade" plastics have not undergone thorough testing for endocrine disrupting effects that would meet the standards of The Endocrine Society, the world's leading authority on malfunctions of your hormone system, including the adverse effects of chemicals.

And the FDA is notoriously bad for dealing with low dose effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (watch this webinar from Carnegie Mellon University). They are in charge of "food grade" plastics. And they are asleep at the wheel.

Twenty-two years ago we wrote in Our Stolen Future "don't microwave in plastic." We never imagined we would need to add "or roast in plastic wrap in the oven." Too crazy.

The reporter observed that "The heated wrap felt slightly thinner than it had before time spent in the oven …" Did chemicals evaporate or migrate? What dripped into the fluids in the roasting pan? What was absorbed by all that grease? What additives were infused into the plastic wrap to make it work the way the manufacturer wanted it to? And what "non-intentionally added substances" (NIAS) sneaked into the wrap beyond the manufacturers control?

There are too many unanswered questions about safety here to make this a part of your Thanksgiving dinner. Plastic and food shouldn't mix at elevated temperatures. Freezer? Probably ok. Roasting oven? Phenomenally bad idea.

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