What Is a Microwave Safe Container?

A microwave safe container is a receptacle that can safely cook or heat foods in a microwave oven without leaching harmful substances into the food.

Safe Containers

Only certain containers are safe to use in a microwave.Only certain containers are safe to use in a microwave.
It can withstand the high temperatures without buckling or melting.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) lists containers considered safe to use in microwave ovens. They include any that are labeled for microwave use, heatproof glass like Pyrex or Anchor Hocking, glass-ceramic containers such as Corning Ware, and most plain white paper plates.

Unsafe Containers

The USDA warns against using certain containers in a microwave oven. That list includes commercial storage containers such as margarine, cottage cheese and yogurt tubs, brown paper bags, foam, china with metallic ornamentation, or any container made from metal or that contains metal parts.

Effects

According to the American Frozen Food Institute, microwave ovens convert electricity into short waves. These waves penetrate the foods, and the friction caused by the rapidly moving food molecules generates heat. When cooking foods with a high fat content, the fat can get so hot that it can cause an unsuitable container, such as some plastics, to melt.

Warnings

The Environmental Health Institute of Nova Scotia reports that a chemical called Bisphenol A, or BPA, is present in some plastics considered safe to use in microwave ovens. The study points to research done in 2006 by Frederick vom Saal, who theorized that microwaving food in plastic containers may increase the transference of BPA into food.

About the Author

Rachel Lovejoy has been writing professionally since 1990 and currently writes a weekly column entitled "From the Urban Wilderness" for the Journal Tribune in Biddeford, Maine, as well as short novellas for Amazon Kindle. Lovejoy graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.