I just baked a spiral ham for an hour. There was a little piece of plastic that I was supposed to 'remove before cooking', but I didn't notice it.

After an hour, the ham was baked and the plastic seems to be unburned. This is possibly because the plastic was under the basting liquid and not exposed to air. The plastic also does not seem to have melted. It feels hard to the touch. The surface is a little slippery and smells like ham.

Is my ham safe to eat?

1 Answer 1


I posted this question in a hurry (because as you can imagine), there was a lot of anxiety concerning whether it was safe to have dinner or not. It turns out that this ham is not safe; I will quote the USDA:

The plastic bone guard covering the exposed bone is used to keep the bone from breaking the outer wrap. If left on the meat during cooking, a 325 or 350 °F oven temperature may not melt the plastic but still give off an abnormal chemical odor or taste. Cutting away the meat around the exposed area will not necessarily solve this potential food safety problem because the penetration of the chemical into the meat will be unknown. If meat is cooked in a closed container, the chemicals may penetrate the entire piece of meat. USDA advises not to eat the ham; discard it.

Source: Hock Locks and Other Accoutrements (USDA)

Quite a disappointment unfortunately.

  • That's a shame - sorry to hear it, but better safe than sorry! Jan 1, 2013 at 23:08

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