Microwaves and Freezer Burns

Recently a friend of mine said something about microwaving food and freezer burn as causing a molecular change in the food itself, thus making the food harmful to those who eat it. I decided to do some research to verify if this information is accurate.

Research is a loose term, mainly trying to discover based on data and studies done whether or not these things hold any water, not doing any actual experiments myself.

Freezer Burn
According the FDA, freezer burn is a quality, not a safety issue. This is a process whereby food loses moisture in some parts, which cause those parts to dry out, and may cause them to discolor. So, there is nothing dangerous about freezer burn. In fact, it can be prevented by removing as much air as possible before putting something in the freezer.

The Dangers of Microwave Ovens
This was a bit more challenging. When I did a search on the web regarding this theory, I found a number of links to articles related to the dangers of microwave ovens. However, I did not find these types of links that contained any data or were backed up by studies. In fact, the only commonality among the articles was that 1. the articles all indicated that there were dangerous carcinogens coming out of microwave oven cookery and 2. most of the sites were some part of a homeopathic/herbal/hocus pocus site.

That being said, I changed the wording of what I was looking for and found that microwaving food is safe. The dangers of using the microwave include 1. burns or over-heating may occur when using containers that are not microwave safe, 2. that the food doesn’t always cook evenly, which could open the door to increasing bacteria in the food, and 3. that microwaves should not be used to sterilize anything. There is no molecular change to the food. However, it is interesting to note that the study in Australia concluded that plastics, even those labeled as microwave safe, may allow chemical migration to occur into the food. It recommends to not allow the food to touch the plastic, and indicates that higher-fat foods tend to increase the amount of chemical migration of particles. The FDA concluded that the amount of chemical migration is well below what would be deemed as harmful.

It also indicated that aluminum foil may be used in the microwave, as long as it doesn’t touch the sides of the microwave itself.

An interesting side-note was that, according to studies, microwaves actually help food retain more of their vitamins, minerals, and nutrition than boiling. This contradicts what the anti-microwaving sites were pointing out.

So, all-in-all, I think the people who think microwaving is bad are a bit off-kilter. Food is cooked by the agitation of water molecules inherint in the food. That is all that happens. The agitation is due to the polarity of water being manipulated by the microwaves, causing two different types of heating: dielectric and ionic.

2 Responses to “Microwaves and Freezer Burns”

  1. FTC Says:

    For more info on microwaving check out:


    Last one contains commentary on microwaving and killing nutrients in food. Enjoy!

  2. Michele Says:

    I wanted to delete the shortcut to this blog on my list when I decided to go to it first.
    Great music man. Hilarious. I’d return for the music if I needed a laugh.

    In deciding to delete the shortcut, I thought I’d review the latest…shopping discount help?? What is this, Hints from Heloise? Ok, so the microwave bit interest me truly. Have we forgotten that radiation in a microwave cooks the food? Isn’t excessive exposure to radiation a bad thing? Isn’t that why when they give you xrays they give you a lead apron to cover your reproducitve organs?!

    It’s probably the containers melding with the food that is MORE toxic for the body than anything, but in the name of convenience and technology, we’ll ignore that until scathingly high incidences of cancer increase among people our own age…and ask, WHY?

    My favorite is people who don’t care that they microwave their leftovers in the styrofoam container in which it came! There is a molecular breakdown their and it does become toxic seeping into the food.

    I’d like to hear about your own microwave experiments with regard to this stuff…how about the foil thing? Really.

    So, before I delete the shortcut here, what do you say is the purpose of this blog?

    Sincerely yours, M

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