Are some plastic wraps more effective than others?

What sort of plastic is most effective depends on the job you want it to perform. Some films are impermeable to oxygen—this is what you want for high-fat foods if you want to prevent oxidation. Most are impermeable to water—this is what you want if you don’t want the food to dry out. Some are impermeable to certain wavelengths of light—this is what you want if you want to prevent color change and/or oxidation of fats and vitamins. Some have more “body,” so they will help the food hold its shape while others are very moldable and easily form to the irregular shapes of some foods.  Plastic films and bags in general are waterproof and will prevent dehydration. If the plastic is clear, it does not block light. Whether or not a plastic wrap blocks oxygen transmission depends on the material it’s made of. (Saran Wrap, for example, has a very low oxygen transmission rate.) The label may tell you what protection a particular product provides; if not, consult the manufacturer’s website.




Susan Brewer, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Dept. of Food Science and Human Nutrition


General Guidelines for Wrapping Foods


What’s better for wrapping food—plastic or aluminum foil?

What produce needs to be wrapped before refrigerating?

Should I wrap raw vegetables loosely or tightly before refrigerating?

How should fruits be wrapped before refrigeration?

Can I refrigerate meat and poultry in its store wrapping?

How should food be handled and wrapped for freezing?


Using Plastic Wraps, Bags, and Containers

Can chemicals leach unto food from plastic wrap or containers?

Are any plastic wraps or containers really “microwave safe”?

Can I use plastic freezer bags to store produce in the fridge?

Do coated plastic bags really help produce last longer?


Using Aluminum Foil Properly


What are some advantages and disadvantages of aluminum foil?

Does exposure to aluminum cause Alzheimer’s disease?

Does aluminum foil give foods a metallic taste?

Why does foil sometimes darken, discolor, and leave black specks on food?

Will a foil cover help keep foods on the table hot or cold?

Is it safe to use aluminum foil in a microwave oven?



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