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How Safe Are Microwave Oven Cooked Food?

Aug 5, 2008
At the very outset, to know whether the microwave oven cooked food is safer to use or not, you need to have a clear knowledge of what microwave radiation is. They are a form of 'electromagnetic' radiation, that is, they are waves of electrical and magnetic energy moving together.

Microwaves used in these ovens are similar to the microwaves used in radar equipment and in telephone, television and radio communications. They are in the non-ionizing range of electromagnetic radiation, which are very different from ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation includes the dangerous X-rays, gamma rays, and cosmic rays and is extremely toxic, powerful and penetrating. But again, non-ionizing radiation is what's used for microwave ovens and cellular telephone devices.

Coming to its cooking qualities, they are convenient for cooking as they pass through glass, paper and plastic and are absorbed by food, producing heat that can reheat or cook the food. Moreover, there are no signs that microwave cooking reduces the nutritional value of food, in fact, some experts believe that microwave cooking may preserve more of the vitamins in food because it cooks food more quickly, leaving less time for the heat to break down the vitamins, and uses less water, which can leach out the vitamins.

Many people are concerned with being exposed to a microwave oven's radiation. There are studies on the effects of microwave cooking that show both positive and negative effects on food, just as there are current studies on the dangerous effects of radiation from cell phones. So the bottom line is to learn how to use them safely and also follow some safety tips:

- follow the manufacturer's instruction manual for recommended operating procedures and safety precautions for your own model.

- don't operate an oven if the door does not close firmly or is bent, warped, or otherwise damaged.

- as an added safety precaution, don't stand directly against an oven (and don't allow children to do this) for long periods of time while it is operating.

- you should not heat water or liquids in the microwave ovens for excessive amount of time.

- microwave ovens can heat liquid and solid foods unevenly, leaving some cooler parts and some scalding hot spots. There are two dangers in this:

- Hot spots: Babies who have been given formula heated in a microwave oven have gotten bad mouth burns. For this reason, it is recommended not to heat milk for a baby in a microwave.

- Cold spots: Cooking meat in a microwave can lead to uncooked spots in which bacteria can survive. This can lead to food-borne illness. To thoroughly cook meat, it is safer to use traditional methods.
About the Author
Palak Agarwal is a research analyst at Admanya.com, India's leading consumer internet portal which educates consumers by providing extensive product information and robust research. Visit
http://consumer.admanya.com
for latest consumer reviews, buying tips, prices, advices, surveys and reports.
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