Why are plastic spoons not used for cooking? You may have come across reports against using plastic spoons for cooking. Perhaps, you need to substitute yours for a better alternative like silicone.
Plastic spoons are not used for cooking because they can leach toxic chemicals into your meal. A plastic spoon will melt or flake in extreme heat, migrating chemicals into the food.
Instead of cutting off the use of plastic spoons, you want to consider a silicone spoon, a superior alternative to plastic for cooking.
Can you cook with plastic spoons?
You should not use plastic spoons to cook. Plastic spoons produce harmful toxic by-products that cause food contamination when heated extremely.
The toxins may include oligomers, formed when producing plastic, and harmful to humans.
If you cook with a plastic spoon, ensure that the contact with food is brief and has low-level heat. Plastic spoons can also cause liver and thyroid disease.
The melting point of plastic is determined by its chemical makeup. For instance, PVC will melt between 320 and 410 degrees Fahrenheit.
Various types of HDPE melt between 410 and 518 degrees Fahrenheit while various polypropylene melt between 392 and 536 degrees Fahrenheit.
Note that the melting of plastic is lower if it contains other compounds, making it impure.
Silicone-based plastic spoons are produced for durability, and can withstand certain boiling temperatures.
What plastic is used for spoons?
A plastic spoon is made from polypropylene or polystyrene. Spoons made from polystyrene can release toxic chemicals when heated.
The difference between polypropylene and polystyrene is that the monomer for polypropylene is propylene while the monomer for polystyrene is styrene. These monomers have a similar structural unit.
The biggest benefits of plastic cooking spoons could be budget-friendliness and colors. They are typically sold in arrays of pleasing colors.
Plastics are, however, less durable and melt quite easily when exposed to high heat levels.
Are plastic spoons BPA free?
BPA (Bisphenol A)-free is a BS label. However, plastic spoons labeled BPA-free are not necessarily safe unless silicone-based.
There is lots of information about the BPA having detrimental effects. BPA is a chemical in a plastic cooking spoon linked to health problems including obesity, infertility, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Many cooking plastic spoon manufacturers have removed BPA, and then make it a selling point to use silicon and label the spoons BPA-free.
Plastic cooking spoons are still available in the market today with many households unaware of the detrimental effects. Silicone is also fast becoming a more patronized material for cooking spoons and is considered safer.
What happens if a plastic spoon melted in food?
If a plastic spoon melts in the food, its mixes its microscopic particles, making the food consumption dangerous. In extreme cases, this may be fatal.
A regular disposable spoon made of polystyrene can be heated up to 105 degrees Celsius before it melts and may not leave a trace of Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC). However, burning a plastic spoon releases some VOC since polystyrene contains styrene (a benzene ring).
If the plastic spoon is made up of polyethylene, it will be inert when melted in the food, and does not release VOC when burned, only water, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide.
Plastic has a flowing point referred to as glass transition. This is a state between solid and liquid. Here, molecular bonds are weakened while monomers realign.
In essence, the food may not be okay for consumption, and the plastic changes the flavor of the food. A tiny accidental intake of plastic may not be harmful but continuous consumption is dangerous.
Is it better to cook with wooden spoons or plastic?
Instead of buying plastic, are you better off with wooden spoons?
Wooden spoons are not the best replacement utensils for plastic spoons but can do some things better. For example, wood is a better choice when you work with hot foods requiring you to stir frequently like soups, candies, and risottos.
Wooden spoons help to distribute even heat and work well with nonstick cookware or delicate copper cookware to prevent scratches on the surface.
On the other hand, plastic spoons can melt when in contact with high heat levels or burning elements, including hot syrups, and sides of cooking pots.
A plastic spoon, thus, works better with low or no-heat cooking temperatures, including scraping bread batters off the bowls, stirring cookie dough, or using plastic spoons to measure food ingredients.
Some silicone-based plastic spoons are dishwasher safe. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations to know if the spoon goes on the top of the rack.
One downside of the wooden spoon is that it cracks over time, especially if you repeatedly expose it to your dishwasher or heat. Food can stick in the wooden spoon, giving way to the growth of harmful bacteria.
Plastic, on the other hand, can melt when exposed to heat. If your plastic spoons contain BPA, a plastic chemical (present in some plastics) that can be harmful, and even reportedly hinders development in children.
Best plastic cooking spoons
This section compiles some silicone-based spoons you need for cooking.
W WBLD silicone nonstick mixing spoons set 2
W WBLD is a silicone-based spoon you need for your cooking adventure. A better alternative to dangerous plastics, and more resistant to heat.
Below are features you enjoy with this spoon:
W WBLD silicone spoon is quite versatile and essential for your kitchen. The pack contains 2 mixing spoons of red and black colors.
This spoon is safe and healthy for your food. W WBLD uses high-quality silicone, which is safe under heat up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit and healthy for cooking. Speaking of melting, this spoon does not warp or melt and works well for your non-stick pans or pots.
The use of solid silicone for this cooking spoon means no melting or warping when you expose them to a hot pot or meal. W WBLD designs the spoons with smoother edges to get rid of scratch potential on non-stick pans.
Stylish and cooking-friendliness
A stylish collection with all colorful touches to give you cooking pleasure. Regarding cooking-friendliness, this spoon assists greatly with mixing and stirring hot or cold foods of any category.
You can trust W WBLD for its choice of quality materials to not just ensure durability but also give a premium to your home. Click here to see on Amazon
Dandat 4 pieces silicone nonstick mixing spoons
Dandat is another big name in the silicone cooking spoon industry. This manufacturer cares about your health and is mindful of the components used to make the set of 4 durable cooking spoons.
This cooking spoon set brings the following to your kitchen:
Reliable material is used with silicone onboard to ensure to make this cooking/serving spoon non-stick. It is sturdy and safe, you do not have your food smelling plastic at the end of the day.
This spoon does not break easily, it is designed to survive extended use for the money.
This set of silicone-based spoons are heat resistant, and arrive in 2 sizes, including 8.1 x 1.6 inches and 8.3 x 1 inches. These are perfect sizes for cooking and stirring your food to deliciousness.
According to Dandat, this set of 4 is “a good kitchen helper”. You can use them to scoop your flour, soup, sugar, honey, soy sauce, and much more conveniently.
In the pack
The pack arrives with 4 pieces of silicone non-stick mixing spoons. This number (4) is perfect for your daily cooking demands. Pick from the two available sizes the size that suits the depth of your cooking pot. You can have your child handle another to learn to prepare the perfect meal the way you do.
All 4 spoons use long handles that make handling easier. The heat from the pot or pan does not affect your handling due to the handle structure.
Speaking of color, these Dandat spoons arrive in cyan, sky-blue, gray, and mint green. These colors bring the needed charms to your kitchen when left on the racks. Click here to see on Amazon
Yoku Made – 15 inches giant silicone mixing spoon
If you need a giant silicon-based cooking spoon for the deepest pot, then the Yoku giant spoon is what you need.
Apart from its size, you get to enjoy it in the following ways:
This spoon is made with Europe-standard food-grade material to complement your safe eating habit. Compared to USA grade, European standard silicone is stricter, and this spoon can resist high heat up to 430 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dishwasher safe and non-sticky
You can use this spoon in your dishwasher to help reduce your time in the kitchen. Moreover, Yoku Made uses soft silicone to make sure you do not scratch your non-stick pots and pans.
Yoku Made uses nylon cores and glass fiber in this spoon for a much stronger and sturdy texture. For its heavy-duty structure, you can use this spoon to stir, mix and scoop any sticky or thick ingredient when cooking or baking.
Handle and bowl
A longer handle is used for this giant spoon of up to 15 inches. The bowl is also large enough for scooping your food, and safe due to its use of silicone.
Silicone is considered plastic in the plastic industry, and this spoon is silicone-based. Silicone can withstand high heat, so it does not melt or add a plastic taste to your meal. This also makes this spoon hygienic when compared to hard plastic spoons, which may be dangerous to your health. Click here to see on Amazon
Things to consider when buying cooking plastic spoons
This section explains the things you need to look for when buying a cooking spoon for your kitchen.
You want to invest in a spoon with high-quality material, which also happens to be the selling point of cooking spoon manufacturers – silicone.
Apart from being high-quality, silicone is food-grade and nylon material, which withstands high heat (check the manufacturer’s specified heat resistance level).
You do not also get to experience warp and melt, which typically give an unwanted aroma to your food – plastic.
Look at the design before you invest in the cooking spoon. For example, you need a cooking spoon with a suspension hole at the end of the handle, this lets you hang it to dry easily.
You also need a silicone non-slip grip design that conducts heat, keeping the spoon comfortable for handling.
Regarding the length, this depends on the depth of your pot. 10 inches and about should be a comfortable size to hold for cooking.
Get a silicone spoon that is safe for your non-stick pot and pan. Such a spoon is typically coated with soft silicone to prevent scratching your pot and pan. You also get to have a decent cooking experience that makes sure your pots and pans are durable.
Multi-purpose and cleaning
Regarding multi-purpose use, your cooking spoon should be able to mix, serve and stir.
A bigger spoon bowl is important for holding a larger capacity of food for convenience.
Regarding cleaning, make sure you can use the spoon in your dishwasher for more convenience. You may not have all the time for a hand wash.
Silicone spoons are durable and non-toxic compared to hard plastic. Unlike hard plastic, silicone has a higher melting point, which prevents a warp or melting when you expose it to a hot pot or pan.
Since no melting occurs, no harmful materials are released into your food. You do not also experience toxic fumes or odor that affects the flavor or taste of food.
Thus, silicone is a food-grade and child-safe material for cooking spoons, and a superior alternative to harmful hard plastic.
Final thoughts on Why are Plastic Spoons not Used for Cooking?
When buying a cooking-grade spoon, make sure it is recognized by Europe or the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It should be labeled as Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) to be healthy for your meal.
Silicone or not, do not expose the spoon to high heat for too long. This may cause a release of substances that make your food unhealthy. And although your spoon may be labeled BPA-free, it does not mean it is 100% safe.