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Wellness Center

Stainless Steel in Oven

01/26/2010

Question:

Why is stainless steel not meant for cooking in the oven (both microwave and conventional)? Would cooking in the oven in a SS dish spoil the food or is there any health defects when consuming such food? The reason why I am asking this is I had some food that was kept in a SS dish and I had kept it in the oven(conventional). After some time I felt a strange smell in my kitchen and when I went there I noticed the oven had been turned on by my son (I don`t know when) and the smell was coming from the dish kept inside the oven. I am not sure what to do. should I not use the food inside and can I reuse the SS dish again?

Answer:

First, this is a little out of my element, but I would respond by saying that you should not put any metals in a microwave oven, it can cause a fire.

I did a quick web search and found many advertisements for stainless steel cooking and bake-ware. I have never heard that stainless is not suitable for a conventional oven. As for the food that was inadvertently heated up, I would say to discard it (it did not need to be refrigerated?).

You should be able to clean and use the stainless vessel. It seems to me that the risk of an oven being turned on and left on, poses a greater risk of fire than any risk you might face from stainless steel.

Is it possible you are thinking of tin cookware? (tin can be taken in by the body when used to cook and plate food. We can also get too much tin)

Stainless steel is fairly stable, but it doesn't conduct heat very well. You may see that many stainless pans and skillets have a copper disk on the bottom to improve heat conduction. Scratching stainless steel can cause leaching of the metals. This seems a separate issue from baking. For more information, please see the link below.

Related Resources:

HealthyChild.org

For more information:

Go to the Wellness Center health topic, where you can:

Response by:

J Mac Crawford, PhD, RN J Mac Crawford, PhD, RN
Clinical Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences
College of Public Health
The Ohio State University