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Ziploc Omelets Are Not Recommended

Don't Boil With Ziploc Bags

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Water boiling in pan
Grady Coppell/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
This morning I was watching the Rachel Ray show, and she had a guest who demonstrated how to make omelets in a bag, which are simply eggs and other ingredients mashed together in a Ziploc baggie and submersed in boiling water to cook. I used to have several variations of this recipe on the camping site until a reader sent me a copy of this press release from the University of Illinois that was claiming that Ziploc omelets are not recommended.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 3, 2006

"I thought it was important to respond to a questionably safe Food Fad, the ZIPLOC OMELET. It is the latest NOT recommended fad. Please... DON'T try this at home and we will tell you exactly why. What is circulating around again is instructions on cooking omelets in Ziploc bags. This is not recommended until further research is done on cooking with plastics. There is still question about the cancer causing breakdown of plastics and their contact with food during cooking.

"We have contacted the Ziploc company and they replied by telling us that ZIPLOC® brand Bags cannot be used to boil food. They also told us that they do not manufacture a "boilable" bag.... yet.

"They do not recommend using any ZIPLOC® brand Bag in boiling water, or to "boil" in the microwave. ZIPLOC® brand Bags are made from polyethylene plastic with a softening point of approximately 195 degrees Fahrenheit. By pouring near boiling water (water begins to boil at 212 degrees) into the bag, or putting the bag into the water, the plastic could begin to melt. Might I add that eggs and cheese have fat which gets much hotter than water thus the likelihood of melting the plastic increases.

"It is so easy to start something unhealthy like the idea of a ZIPLOC OMELET. All you have to do is type it up and send it out to everyone you know via e-mail. It spreads like wild fire. The ZIPLOC OMELET instructions start out by telling you "This works great !!!" But who ever started the idea had not contacted the company who manufactures the bag to see if such cooking techniques were recommended. Therefore people receiving the instructions might just assume this idea is safe and it is not.

"The specific concern centers on the possible contamination of foods with known carcinogens that may be present in plastic containers and wraps.

"This issue is certain to generate much research to clarify the potential risks. Until this issue is fully resolved, consumers who want to take a cautious approach should not use Ziploc type bags for boiling food in water or in the microwave. People should continue making omelets the old traditional way until plastic bag manufacturers come out with an approved safe bag that while heated containing food will produce no carcinogens."

According to SC Johnson's Frequently Asked Questions page:

Can I boil in Ziploc® Brand bags?
No. Ziploc® Brand bags are not designed to withstand the extreme heat of boiling.

I also received a letter from Megan O. Maginnis, Consumer Specialist for S.C. Johnson & Son, makers of Ziploc baggies. Megan was replying to my inquiry about boiling with baggies.

"Thank you for asking about using Ziploc bags to make omelets. While we appreciate hearing about new and innovative ways to use our products, we must be cautious that these new ideas follow label directions.

"Ziploc bags are not designed or approved to withstand the extreme heat of boiling and therefore, using Ziploc bags to make any recipe that requires the bag to be boiled is not recommended.

"Like all of SC Johnson's products, Ziploc bags cam be used with confidence when label directions are followed. All Ziploc containers and microwaveable Ziploc bags meet safety requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for temperatures associated with defrosting and reheating food in microwave ovens,as well as room, refrigerator, and freezer temperatures.

"Please share these facts with others who may have this misleading information. We also encourage people to go to www.ziploc.com for more information on the proper use of this product."

Ziploc is a registered trademark of the SC Johnson Co. If you have concerns about cooking with Ziploc bags, you can call the SC Johnson Product Safety Department at 1-866-231-5406. They will address any questions you may have.

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