Aluminium foil and microwave ovens

The use of alufoilcontainers in microwave ovens is safe

Conclusive evidence that aluminium foil packaging can be used safely inmicrowave ovens has been established by a study from the Fraunhofer Institutefor Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Freising, Germany.

The results dispel the myth that aluminium foil containers are unsafe foruse in microwave ovens and prove that consumer fears about using alufoil packsin the microwave are unfounded.

In fact in some instances consumer convenience is improved as not only arealufoil packs more rigid, something that is equally applicable to dual-ovenablecontainers, the use of aluminium foil enhances the appearance of the food whenheated in the microwave oven. For example the study found that in the case oflasagne heated in a microwave oven its visual appearance was superior as abrown crust was formed on the surface.

Conducted on behalf of the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA) withthe support of the Aluminium Foil Container Manufacturers Association (AFCMA)the study concluded, “Microwave heating of food packaged in aluminium foiltrays or in plastic containers with aluminium foil or aluminium laminated lidsis perfectly viable.”

No hazardous results or damage to ovens were found in the more than 200food portions that were heated in aluminium foil containers or packs containingaluminium foil. Thomas Pfeiffer, the study’s author, said, “The FraunhoferInstitute conducted the heating procedures with the microwave ovens set atmaximum power and there was not a single case of damage to the microwave ovensor danger to the users.”

Four kitchen microwave ovens were used to test aluminium foil trayscontaining tap water, egg batter, frozen lasagne and minced meat. Tests werealso conducted on plastic cups and plastic trays containing a noodle soup and achildren’s menu, covered with either aluminium foil or aluminium laminate lid.

The study found some differences in the time needed to heat products whenaluminium foil containers were compared with plastic trays. Due to variationsin heating patterns and depending on tray geometry and food type, heating timesfor aluminium foil packs were sometimes longer.

However, observed Pfeiffer, “The study also provides some interestingresults regarding heating patterns and heating uniformity. In some cases theyappeared to be better in aluminium foil trays.”

Press release
Article by Thomas Pfeiffer (Fraunhofer Institute)
Executive summary, Literature study report, Complete experimental study
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