Baking in Aluminum Foils - A Food Safety Hazard?

There was one thing that I was particularly obsessed about when we eventually decided to roll out our business. Aluminium contamination. The concern was out of whim. No one or nothing had really prompted me to check it out save for advice that I had received many, many, years ago. Back then, a colleague had advised me against the frequent use of canned food.

So, one fine almost sunny day, I decided to Google it out. There, in the abyss of the web, I discovered some facts. There were, in fact, some publications confirming the increased presence of aluminium in food upon its contact with aluminium. This occurs especially with food containing certain levels of acidity and composition, For us, tomatoes and meat, stored, cooked, or baked in an aluminium container, were the core of our food prep. When I became aware of this issue, I became unsettled and couldn't help but feel bad about it.

Ertl and Goessler (2018)1 mentioned in their abstract (publication not accessible directly) that the "results show that untreated food is not significantly contaminated. Furthermore, short time contact to aluminium foil increases the food aluminium concentration only marginally. Nevertheless, as soon as the food is in contact to aluminium foil and at the same time in contact with metals (alloys) with a higher standard electrode potential than aluminium (−1.66 V) high aluminium contaminations were observed."

Dordevic et al. (2019)2 investigated a wider range of food variants and concluded that "the study clearly showed the occurrence of aluminum contamination of food when it is prepared by baking in aluminum foil. It cannot be concluded that aluminum leakage will occur with each type of food. The aluminum contents found among investigated samples are not alarming, though the increase was measured up to 40 times. On the other hand, revealed aluminum contents can represent a risk for younger/smaller children and for individuals with diagnosed certain ailments."

There are many other studies out there that have shown such aluminium presence. I have only placed a few here. After knowing these, I made a conscious effort to look out for the different types of food containers available. Containers that were deemed less dangerous. However, there were no cheap alternatives. So, in the end, we reduced to using baking sheets as the intermediary layer between the food and the aluminium foil container. I would say, from the naked eye, that it does separate the food from direct contact with the aluminium container. Hence, I hope that if not entirely eliminated, any leakage of aluminium would be reduced.

I would love it if anyone out there could suggest to us any other solutions or validate our solution itself.

Wallahu A'lam. Allah Knows Best.

Our first attempt at layering a baking sheet between the food and the aluminium container.

[1] Ertl, Kathrin & Goessler, Walter. (2018). Aluminium in foodstuff and the influence of aluminium foil used for food preparation or short time storage. Food Additives & Contaminants: Part B. 11. 10.1080/19393210.2018.1442881. 

[2] Dordevic, D., Buchtova, H., Jancikova, S., Macharackova, B., Jarosova, M., Vitez, T., & Kushkevych, I. (2019). Aluminum contamination of food during culinary preparation: Case study with aluminum foil and consumers' preferences. Food science & nutrition, 7(10), 3349–3360.


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