Protecting the Environment

Microwave information

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

microwave logos

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

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

Conducted on behalf of the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA) with the support of the US Aluminium Foil Container Manufacturers Association (AFCMA) the study concluded, "Microwave heating of food packaged in aluminium foil trays or in plastic containers with aluminium foil or aluminium laminated lids is perfectly viable."

No hazardous results or damage to ovens were found in the more than 200 food portions that were heated in aluminium foil containers or packs containing aluminium foil. Thomas Pfeiffer, the study's author, said, "The Fraunhofer Institute conducted the heating procedures with the microwave ovens set at maximum power and there was not a single case of damage to the microwave ovens or danger to the users."

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

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

However, observed Pfeiffer, "The study also provides some interesting results regarding heating patterns and heating uniformity. In some cases they appeared to be better in aluminium foil trays."

EAFA has also created a new logo to promote the use of aluminium foil in microwaveable packs. The logo is intended to be used by packaging manufacturers as well as fillers to help convince consumers that it is safe to use alufoil packaging in microwave ovens.

Aluminium trays in the microwave oven: the right way to do it*

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