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It's hard to clean the baking sheet from the stains left by baking food. I was wondering if it is safe to bake the food wrapped in aluminum foil, or whether some aluminum may be leached into the food?

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    The concept of aluminum foil being "unsafe" for food is dubious at best and has been debunked over and over. – Catija Dec 24 '17 at 21:09
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    Are you asking for food safety agency recommendations (they say it's fine) or are you trying to ask if there's any credibility to claims that it is somehow unsafe? The former is probably on-topic here (though it's an extremely basic question); the latter is not (though you might be able to ask it on skeptics.stackexchange.com). – Cascabel Dec 24 '17 at 21:32
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    I sure hope so - otherwise I suspect I'm dead but just haven't noticed yet. :-) – Bob Jarvis - Reinstate Monica Dec 25 '17 at 21:11
  • Not an answer to your aluminum foil question but I lay down parchment paper on the baking sheet to ease clean-up. No idea what might be leached into the food from parchment paper 😃 – No Grabbing Dec 26 '17 at 1:34
  • This is easier to answer if you define "food". Are you wanting to wrap meat, fish, vegetables (which?), tomatoes, cakes, or what? – Nick Gammon Dec 26 '17 at 6:34
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Not only is it safe but there are entire collections of recipes developed around "foil pack" cooking. Mostly centered around 'campfire' cooking, where one prepares all of the ingredients, wraps them tightly in aluminum foil and places the whole pack in the fire (or oven) to cook the dish.

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    Yep. This brings back memories. – dreamcatcher Dec 26 '17 at 2:45
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Some foods dissolve aluminum foil. From experience, one food that does this is cured ham. Food Safety Education says:

It is possible for heavy concentrations of salt, vinegar or some other acidic compound, or highly spiced foods to cause the foil to disintegrate. The product of either of these reactions is an aluminum salt. It does not harm the food but you will want to scrape any deposit off the food as it may impart an undesired flavor and color.

If this happens when you're counting on the foil to seal in moisture, it could ruin the meal.

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    Aluminum is actually quite susceptible to corrosion by basic chemicals, like lye and sodium carbonate as well. Not harmful, but annoying. – barbecue Dec 25 '17 at 18:49
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    Many tomato-based items dissolve foil too. – Moshe Katz Dec 26 '17 at 0:48
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    @barbecue The blanket statement "Not harmful" is, I think, not justified. The German "Federal Office for Risk Assessment" published a paper suggesting a relatively low daily maximum aluminum intake through food and deodorants. Quotes: "due to the patchy data situation, they do not provide irrefutable scientific evidence for such a connection [between Alzheimer's and aluminum]" and "existing data is inconsistent and in some cases contradictory" for a connection to cancer. The jury is still out. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Dec 26 '17 at 16:15
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Personally I usually use baking paper rather than aluminium foil, for two main reasons:

  • Aluminium foil, being extremely thin, tends to tear easily. It doesn't take much to poke a hole through it, and then its planned use, to keep the baking tray clean, fails because oil or other stuff will ooze through the hole(s). Meat in particular is likely to have sharp edges which will pierce the foil.

  • In the case of bread, the foil can cling to the cooked food. In the past I recall peeling of bits of foil, piece by piece, as some sticks and some doesn't. This doesn't happen with baking paper which is somewhat stronger. If you miss a piece of foil your bread can have a rather unpleasant "crunchy" taste as your teeth encounter small bits of foil.


I was wondering if it is safe to bake the food wrapped in aluminum foil ...

I don't know about "safe" or not, but rather I think that the baking paper is more practical, and achieves the same effect, if a clean tray is what you are after. Similarly, lining a cake tray with paper can make cleaning it easier.

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A scientific experiment was done on leaching of aluminum from aluminum foil in different food solutions - found here. In it the authors conclude:

The results clearly indicate that the use of aluminum foil for cooking contributes significantly to the daily intake of aluminum through the cooked foods.

The World Health Organisation states that 40mg is a safe daily intake of the metal, but the study showed that food cooked in foil could contain over six times that amount, with one portion of cooked meat containing up to 400mg.

  • Acid foods, like tomato sauce, will dissolve Aluminum foil. Even cold aluminum wrapped pizza slices sometimes develop holes in the Al overnight. Basic food will do the same, but no one except perhaps betel nut chewers need worry about that. The aluminum does not dissolve into some mysterious and non-toxic gas. It dissolves into the food as soluble trivalent aluminum salts. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_chloride I only use Aluminum foil on foods with a near neutral pH – Wayfaring Stranger Aug 7 at 0:14

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