Is it safe to toss a salad with a large plastic bag prior to serving it?
By stm from Naples, FL
Yes, as long as it's a bag used for actual food storage. Why don't you simply toss it in a large bowl?
If you are serving a large number of people, you can "toss" or "mix" the salad in one of the two gallon size Ziplock Food Storage bags. I often wash out my Rubbermaid plastic dish pan and use it for mixing a tossed salad for a large crowd.
You can always hold back small cherry or grape tomatoes, black olives, cucumber slices, raw onion rings etc, and after placing the lettuces on individual plates or bowls, add those ingredients on top. The salad will look a lot prettier and fresher as well.
If you need more space than that, I don't think using a new plastic 13 Gallon bag meant for a garbage can will hurt the salad as long as it's not long-term storage. There is nothing in the salad which would be hurt by the plastic or vice versa. Bakers often use those Glad 13 Gallon bags for allowing large amounts of dough to rise, then to keep it in the refrigerator.
You can also use a perfectly clean cooler to mix large amounts of tossed salad. Do not add dressing to any of these containers. Always let folks add their own salad dressing.
Hope this helps you,
I must add here that it's very disconcerting to find out that bakers sometimes use 13 gallon trash bags for rising dough because as professional food handlers they should know better! Trash bags are not made with the same food safe chemicals that food grade plastic bags are made of :-o Here is some information I saved when searching about safe plastics a year or so ago:
Plastics To Avoid
If you know that a plastic container or bag is not made of food grade material, you should not use it. If you cannot determine the food grade status of a container or bag, you should not use it.
HDPE white plastic containers of unknown food grade, garbage cans or pails, mop buckets, laundry detergent or kitty litter buckets, 5-gallon utility buckets from the home center, household storage containers, garbage bags, or any container, even if made of food grade plastic, that has been used to store non-food items like chemicals, paint, or detergent.
And this is what the USDA says: "The use of plastic trash bags for food storage or cooking is not recommended by USDA because they are not food grade plastic and chemicals from them may leach into the food."
Even though the FDA says 'storage' or 'cooking' I personally would rather play it safe and not allow food to be in any contact with non-food grade containers.
I love Pookarina's idea of holding back all the added salad goodies until the lettuce is already on the plate :-)
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