Is it safe to use aluminium foil to wrap food?

Whether it is lunch for office or college, planning a picnic or travelling, most of us pack our home-made food in aluminium foil and carry it. But have you ever wondered how it keeps the food warm and is it even safe to store food in aluminium foils for longer periods of time?

Is it safe to use aluminium foil to wrap food?

Aluminium is a popular cookware material and it doesn’t just appear in foils. You need to keep in mind that aluminium is reactive and some of the foil can leach into your meal which can pose dangers to your health.

Researchers have found that cooking in aluminium foil is not as safe as it was once thought because the food comes into direct contact with the metal. Acidic foods such as lemon juice and tomato as well as some spices react with aluminium, causing the metal to leach into the food.

When this happens, the concentration of aluminium in food increases and may surpass the recommended limit (no more than 40 mg per kilogram of body weight a day) for adults.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Jayesh Lele, a senior general physician practicing in Malad, Mumbai, said, “We generally use aluminium foil to wrap our snacks and chapattis. Although aluminium foil has negligible health effects, storing foods for a long amount of time can make the food go stale. Consumption of stale food packed in aluminium foil can cause stomach pain and could also increase the risk of cancer.”

Amravati’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Joint-Commissioner, Suresh Annapure, said, “Wrapping food in newspaper can have hazardous effect on our health as the ink used can leach into our food. Wrapping food in aluminium foil carries no health risk. The food wrapped in aluminium foil is kept safe. But, we shouldn’t keep it in for a long time as the food can spoil.”

Aluminium foil should ideally be used only to keep food warm for shorter periods of time but many people store the food for longer which may have consequences. Any food, if reaches 7- 8 degree Celsius or the time limit of 3-4 hours has exceeded (this may vary depending on the season and outdoor temperatures) then it provides an atmosphere for bacteria to reproduce, so it shouldn’t be outside the refrigerator.

Although aluminium foil is there to keep your food warm, it doesn’t harm to try other alternatives too as suggested by experts. For most working people, eating packed homemade food is a norm. All you need to do is give a little attention to how this food is packed and carried.

Also Read :- European Food Safety Authority claims palm oil in Nutella could cause cancer