Is parchment paper toxic? Safe?

Parchment Paper – Is it Safe?

In Good To Know August 18th, 20200 Comments

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Everyone wants their health and the health of their families to be at the best. For that reason, you will find yourself questioning the safety of ingredients and products that you use for cooking. You want to make sure that the ingredients and products you use do not have any nasty chemicals or safety issues that will put your family at risk.

Parchment paper has been prepared in a certain way to ensure that it is not only greaseproof but also resistant to heat. Is parchment paper toxic? Is it possible that the chemicals used in its manufacture might leach into your food and cause health issues? Is there any risk of fires? In this post, we address all the safety issues including any risks of fire.

Will Parchment Paper Burn?

Can parchment paper burn? After all, it is made of paper. Is burnt parchment paper toxic? Well, parchment paper is not like any other paper. During the manufacturing of parchment paper, wood pulp is laid out, after which it is dried and finally rolled into huge rolls of paper. However, there is an additional step for parchment paper. Both sides of the paper are applied with a silicone coating. This final stage allows the parchment paper to achieve its specific properties, which includes resistance to heat to a certain temperature. Different types of paper will be able to reach different temperatures. Most will go up to around 220 degrees Celsius.

The silicone coating is the difference between an alternative like wax paper, which will usually burn when used in the oven.

It is important to note, however, that even though parchment paper is able to resist heat, it will not have the same reaction to a direct flame. You should not expose parchment paper to a direct flame.

Leaching Chemicals into Food

We are continuously growing aware of the possibilities of chemicals leaching into our foods from the products we use when cooking. Leaching is not always a bad thing since it is the same process that helps water turn coffee grounds into a cup of coffee.

Since parchment paper has a silicone coating, it is normal to wonder if there are chances that it leaches some chemicals in food, increasing the risk of health issues for our families. So, can you bake parchment paper?

However, parchment paper is certified and there are no chances of any components of the parchment paper migrating into your food. The parchment paper will neither affect the flavor of the food nor its texture.

You should also know that the parchment paper will not have any effect on food when used in cooking or storing.

Cooking with Bleached Parchment Paper

Bleaching of a parchment paper is an important process for improving hygiene, as well as the ability to resist heat. The wood pulp that is usually used in the manufacture of parchment paper can either go through a bleaching process to make it white. An unbleached pulp will maintain its natural brown color. The bleaching process will remove lignin, which is the molecule that provides the brown shade.

When bleached, the lignin is recycled and used in other amazing uses such as medicine, biofuel, as well as a natural adhesive.

The bleaching process usually requires elemental chlorine. This method of bleaching is connected to dioxin production, which can result in different health and environmental problems. For that reason, most people continue to choose unbleached parchment paper. The unbleached parchment paper also has its own problems.

Unbleached fibers of wood can contaminate the food they contact. In addition, since the lignin is present, there are chances that the parchment paper can smoke at high temperatures.

Luckily, the advancements in knowledge and technology allow companies to bleach parchment papers with a process that eradicates the use of elemental chlorine. The parchment papers in the market are free of elemental chlorine (ECF) and are therefore perfectly safe for cooking.

Effects on the Environment

Is parchment paper eco-friendly? This answer to this question is dependent on the manufacturing process that the paper goes through.

When the parchment paper is created from recycled material such as sugarcane waste, or using other non-fiber sources, you can consider it eco-friendly.

In addition, if the pulp that is used in the production of the paper comes from a forest that is managed properly, you can consider that paper to be eco-friendly.

When the parchment paper is produced without resulting in the release of toxic chemicals and elements to the environment, you can consider the paper to be eco-friendly.

However, if the parchment paper is made from wood cut from a forest that is managed poorly, it is not eco-friendly.

Can you Use Parchment Paper in Oven?

Is parchment paper safe to use in a traditional and convection oven? Well, if you check the packaging of the parchment paper, you will see a certain temperature designation, usually 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is the maximum that you should subject parchment paper without any risk of blackening or chapping when using it in the oven.

There are people who have claimed to have subjected the parchment to higher temperature levels, to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. You can find the truth behind that claim by baking pizza with the paper. It is important that you stay close and ready with a fire extinguisher just in case.

Parchment paper is also able to soak and boil without any chances of the component fibers separating. As a result, you can use it without worry about packet foods that are water-based. You can also use it to line batters at the bottom without any chances of tearing or soaking.

Conclusion

Is parchment paper safe? The truth is that the production of parchment paper has improved and that has improved the quality and safety of parchment paper. That said, you should make sure that you do not re-use parchment paper more than three times especially when you use it for high heat cooking. When using it in an electric oven, make sure that you do not bring it close to the appliance’s heating elements sine that temperature is too hot for the parchment paper.

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Feel free to share your observations with me in the comments section!

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