The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is That Plastic Container Safe?

davesmall's picture

Is That Plastic Container Safe?

I like to keep refrigerated bread dough in the refrigerator so I can bake a loaf of bread, a pizza, pita bread, or fougasse on a whim without planning ahead. I keep the wet dough stored in a plastic men's shoebox because it is the perfect size and shape for efficient storage. However, I worried about the safety of the plastic. Could unhealthy chemicals leach out of the plastic and into the dough?

A little Google research on the web turned up this excellent article that I'd like to call to the attention of bakers in this forum.

The most important thing to know is that not all plastics are safe for food storage.


Know the code. Look on the bottom of your plastic to find the recycling symbol (a number between 1 and 7 enclosed in a triangle of arrows). The code indicates the type of plastic you are using and can give you important clues about safety. "We generally say 1, 2, 4 and 5 are considered to be the safest," says Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group. Try to avoid using plastics with 3 or 6, as these leach chemicals that may be harmful. Number 7 is an "other" category that includes BPA-containing plastics called polycarbonates. These plastics, which you should avoid, will have the letters PC printed underneath the 7.

In case you are wondering, my shoeboxes are coded "2"


Dave Small



phxdog's picture



Thanks for the info. I have discontinued the use of my favorite plastic dough container (usually filled with dough made from white flour) in favor of a larger one that is listed as less toxic. I was able to find the needed room in the fridge by moving the lard, bacon, heavy cream, hollandaise sauce, and what's left of the Big Mac I had for dinner.

Though the preceding is a bit 'tongue in cheek', I must admit I went to the link you supplied hoping to find that it came from some over-reactive, less than credible source. It did not; The National Toxicology Program is about as reputable as you can get.

I guess I really should take it seriously. However, in my case, I think arterial blockage will get me long before the BPA-containing plastics do.


highmtnpam's picture

Finally, some information!!  Really appreciate this.  Found some right sizes for my fridge but didn't know how to judge safety.  Thanks,  Pam