Food Container Facts

“Food Container Facts,” Ensign, Apr. 1974, 61

Food Container Facts

Food can be stored in a variety of containers: paper, cardboard, polyethylene, plastic, glass, or metal, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Paper. If there is much moisture in the surrounding air, the food can absorb it. Sugar, for instance, can go lumpy. Insects and rodents can easily chew through the paper. The food may also pick up odors from the air.

Cardboard. Thick cardboard will reduce air exchange with the food and help to keep out odors, but does not protect food completely from insects and rodents.

Polyethylene. Plastic sacks can form an airtight seal that will prevent air exchange, but insects and rodents can eat through it.

Plastic. Plastic bleach bottles can be used to store water. Tight-fitting lids will prevent any air exchange, but determined rodents have been known to eat through heavy plastic containers.

Glass. Besides bottled foods, bottles can be used for water, dry beans, macaroni, nonfat dry milk, and other such products. These containers are impermeable to air, insects, and rodents if lids fit tightly. If earthquakes are common, it is good to place cardboard or folded newspaper between bottles.

Metal. Metal containers may be canisters, bins, or large storage cans, or cans of food from the store. If tightly sealed, metal can prevent any air exchange with the atmosphere. It is insect and rodent proof. But in high humidity areas, metal can rust easily. If such is the case, all metal cans should be painted with a rust-retarding paint.—Kay Franz, Brigham Young University Department of Food, Science, and Nutrition