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Is Tupperware Microwave Safe?

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Microwave is one of the modern appliances designed to make our life easier. In just a few minutes, you can transform cold food into a hot and tasty meal. 

Well, as technology advances, several types of products are invented. A good example is Tupperware. These specially manufactured plastic containers are labeled as microwave safe, but are they really?

Is Tupperware microwave safe? Not all Tupperware plastic containers are microwave safe. Check the bottom of the container for a label that indicates the microwave ability of the specific product.

Unfortunately, microwaving plastics is perceived to have some health risks. So if you are planning to buy Tupperware containers to reheat or cook food in your microwave, you might be wondering if this idea is safe or harmful for your health. 

In a nutshell, there have been lots of debate focusing on the safety of microwaving plastic products made by manufactures Tupperware, GladWare, Rubbermaid and Ziploc

So what was the conclusion about the safety standards? Read on to find out answers to frequently asked questions as to whether or not your Tupperware is microwave safe. 

Is my Tupperware Microwave safe?

Yes, but not all Tupperware containers are labeled microwave safe. In fact, the manufacture asserts that it is safe to microwave food in Tupperware products that are designated for use in the microwave.

However, this goes in contrast against information spreading across the globe that microwaved plastics release dioxins into heated food. Dioxins are a compound that causes cancer and hormonal disruptions. 

My general concerns for heating plastic in the microwave arises from the cause for concern that the material may melt and leach harmful chemicals into your food. Being that I have observed plastic containers cracking, disfiguring and warping, the potential risk is apparent. 

The general understanding seems to be that all Tupperware containers are microwave safe and can be used without any worry. This implies that your Tupperware is safe to microwave when you avoid overheating or prolonged reheating meals in a microwave. 

Is microwaving Tupperware bad?

Microwaving Tupperware is not that harmful, especially when warming meals. However, the risk can increase when cooking meals because a lot of heat is required. 

The issue comes into question because all plastics are not manufactured the same way. Additionally, plastics are molded with heat which arises questions about the melting point of plastic compounds and chemical exposure to food

Basically, the name plastic can be confusing and may imply different types of materials, with compounds and/or substances added to stabilize or shape it. The common stabilizer materials can be phthalates and BPA (Bisphenol A). 

Phthalates are employed to make plastic material flexible and stronger, BPA is utilized to harden the plastic. Usually, BPA and phthalates compounds are frequently associated as endocrine disruptors, which means they can block or mimic hormones in your body. 

Therefore, when microwaving Tupperware, your meal will be placed or wrapped in a plastic container and put into the microwave. This leads to chemical compounds potentially leaking and mixing with your food. 

These synthetic compounds may be harmful to your body after consuming them over time. Furthermore, there have been no long-term studies on the effects of plastic absorption into the human body.

How do I know if my Tupperware is microwave safe?

Tupperware products need to be confirmed for safety before microwaving. There are many materials available to commercial manufacturers, so are they using the correct plastics for high heat exposure?

My concerns about microwaving Tupperware containers are:

  • Plastic leaching harmful chemicals into food
  • Plastic melting in the microwave

To reduce the worry about microwaving, the Tupperware brand has included a comprehensive chart of plastics to guide consumers about the “Resin ID Codes” used in their plastic container products.

The only recommended way to verify this is checking if the plastic containers has the following indications:

  • Microwave logo with 3 wavy lines inside 
  • Microwave safe label
  • 3 to 5 wavy lines

Check if the Tupperware container has a microwave safe symbol indicated by three wavy lines on the underneath side of the container. If the plastic Tupperware with no lines or without any microwave safe symbol and/or label on the bottom of the container, it is advisable to avoid using it in your microwave appliance. 

Although there are many Tupperware products not tailored for cooking, Tupperware Company has created a broad line of containers that are BPA-free and microwave safe. 

Furthermore, if the plastic container is labeled #5, then it is created from PP (Polypropylene), meaning it is considered to be microwave safe. 

CPET, #1 is also microwave safe. It is only employed to heat simple meal solutions for short bursts. You should not mistake it with APET because CPET is crystalized to help it withstand high temperatures. 

APET (E) containers are not microwave safe. This is the same plastic used to make deli containers, water bottles, supermarket bottles, among others for cold food packaging. 

How long can you microwave Tupperware?

Tupperware Company recommends systematic microwaving for their plastic container products. Systematic means that you should avoid overheating or reheating foods for extended lengths of time, especially foods with high sugar and/or fat content. 

The possible concern is that such meals can be so hot and thus will destroy your container. Fat and sugar have higher heat limits than the boiling point of water, which is 100°C or 212°F.

It is only recommended to use Tupperware for reheating and defrosting food. The plastic containers are not advised to use for cooking purposed

Microwave Tupperware products are not designed for cooking and therefore are not recommended for use in a microwave oven except for TupperWave Stack Cooker, Rock ‘N Serve and CrystalWave reheatable products.

Additionally, the company clearly labels the instructions that the container must reheat in sequences no longer than 3 minutes at a time. If your meal demands longer heating times, then consider stopping the microwave at a specified time, stir the content and resume the process for 3 minutes. 

Tips to microwave Tupperware safely

The condition of the Tupperware, contents of the food and microwave wattage level will impact the overall safety. 

The following tips can help ensure your Tupperware is used safely when microwaved:

  1. Fatty meals like cheese and meat that cook with boiling water are known to reach a higher temperature. For that reason, follow a systematic and sequential way of reheating such food items. 
  2. In case you are heating or reheating a lot of food at once, be sure to nuke smaller batches at a time to reduce heat stress on the container. 
  3. Note that all Tupperware plastic containers aren’t ideal and safe for continuous reheating. Remember to confirm from the symbol or label on the bottom before considering reheating in your microwave, only use Tupperware containers labeled as microwave-safe. 
  4. Choose the Tupperware microwave plastic container that has a vent and avoid reheating meals with the lid removed. Without a lid the food can become dried out, so microwave with the lid on and the vent open. This will help ensure that pressure escapes smoothly and effortlessly. In case there is no vent, you can consider lifting one corner of the Tupperware container.
  5. Microwaves can become a breeding ground for microbial contamination. This is because they create inconsistent heating with cool and hot spot in the food that contribute to their survival. Ensure that when reheating, you have to stir, reheat, and continue stirring to evenly distribute the heat throughout the food. 
  6. Leftover meals must also be reheated to increase the temperature to 165 F. This will help destroy any bacteria that could lead to food borne illness.
  7. Ensure that the microwave Tupperware product is BPA-free and phthalate-free for your safety. Newer models are made with safer plastics, but if your Tupperware is older than 10 years it may not be.
  8. Do not microwave Tupperware that has cuts, scraps or warped edges, the material may be compromised and might no longer be safe to use in a microwave. If the Tupperware is past its prime and seen better days, then it may be time to throw it away or use if for different purposes.
  9. Following the safe reheating guidelines recommended by the manufacturer will help make everything straightforward.
Is Tupperware microwave safe

Microwave Safe Tupperware: Final Thoughts

Tupperware microwave containers are one of the most valuable inclusions in your modern kitchen.

It is important to recognize that not all Tupperware containers are microwave safe. If the plastic container is properly labeled as microwave safe, then comfortably use as directed.

When using plastic in a microwave, it is important to refrain from heats oily, fatty or sugar rich foods. The heat point of these items is significantly higher than the boiling point of water, therefore it may melt the plastic and case harm to your food.

Tupperware containers are designed for reheating and defrosting, not necessarily for cooking food. Stick with medium heat to reduce the risk of compromising the container. 

Furthermore, the manufacturer recommends that a Tupperware container be reheated for no longer than 3 minutes at a time. Keep to short durations and make sure to stir the contents frequently to prevent hotspots for developing.

If you have been microwaving food in your Tupperware without any hesitation, then carry on due course. However, if you question the safety about using plastic Tupperware to microwave food, then maybe consider using meal prep containers that are made from glass or ceramic as they are proven to handle high levels of heat without being affected.

There you have it, everything you need to know about Tupperware containers being microwave safe. Follow the manufactures guidelines and your microwave safe Tupperware will perform as intended.