I have been cooking with my two cast iron pans for quite some time now. Tracking the occurrence of when my wife and I have tummy trouble leads me to believe that my seasoning of the pans is not optimal.

The reason is most likely because I don't always season them the night of cooking (I will do it the next day). When I thought that this might be the issue I did an intensive seasoning. Normal seasoning is: brush with hot water, warm on range with layer of oil. For the intensive seasoning I will put a layer of tinfoil on the bottom rack, and place my pans upside-down on the top rack, then heat the pans at 400° for 45 minutes.

I believe the intensive seasoning does kill any germs that might be there otherwise. Should I have to do this every time?

3 Answers 3


Seasoning pans is a method for preventing rust, and it has nothihng to do with food safety. It is done once in a pan's lifetime, and only repaired if it flakes off.

There is no prescription in food safety to cook in sterilized vessels. The germs you eat come from the food, not from the pans. Even if a colony were to form in the pan at some point (what would it eat in a clean pan?) it would be killed in the same cooking process that kills the colonies that live in the raw food.

Nobody but your doctor can tell if your tummyache is indeed caused by food poisoning or something else. So, if you have symptoms, go get yourself checked.

If you really have recurring food poisoning (and not some unrelated illness), you must be hurting standard food safety practices in rather blatant ways. Normally, breaking does rules only rarely results in actual symptomatic illness. You can read our short primer on food safety, including the questions linked from it, to see if you are breakding any of the rules explained there: https://cooking.stackexchange.com/tags/food-safety/info. The pans are not related at all.

  • 2
    The only caveat I would think is the possibility of rancid oil, which is a long-shot. They oiling of the pan and then storing after each use though would be of slight concern to me. Active germ activity should be killed by heating the pan, but would that clear out possible toxin from rancid fats? I am not confident there.
    – dlb
    Nov 29, 2018 at 21:55
  • What oil is it that you use?
    – Spagirl
    Nov 30, 2018 at 11:52
  • @Spagirl Vegetable oil Dec 15, 2018 at 17:20

IMO the cast iron pan seasoning and your mild food poisoning are not related.

Heating a pan at that temperature and that long will kill everything.

If you and your wife have stomach problems at the same time, check the food quality you are eating.

Make certain that not only your cast iron pans are clean, but other surfaces and cooking tools.


And for the record, the one-time seasoning of cast-iron pans goes more like this. First, clean the pan of any foreign substance, using hot water and elbow grease alone (well, soaking too if necessary). Put it on high heat, let the water evaporate completely. When the pan is good and hot, but not red-hot-fire-alarm-hot, put a bit of oil in it (preferably oil that can withstand heat, like peanut or canola, nor olive). Immediately turn the heat off. Use a paper towel or a clean dry rag to spread the oil in a thin film all over, including up the sides. Let it cool. There, your pan is seasoned.

It's the oiling when already hot that seals the pores in the cast-iron properly. If you put the oil on and then heat the pan, you're not getting the 'seasoning'effect, you're just heating your pan.

Proper long-term care of a cast-iron pan includes washing it just like that, hot water and no soap ever. If you mistreat it and it starts to stick, you can repeat the seasoning process. Once, not every day. But really it shouldn't stick ever, if it does it's either because someone is using soap behind your back (ask me how I know), or that you're grossly overheating it.

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