I wasn't sure where to post this and I didn't want to put it in the middle of a rally topic but I see this topic surfaces now and then, especially when a rally is being organized.
It’s really good to have all thoughts and concerns brought forth when it comes to our health and safety. For years there have been discussions and rumors in the media about using plastic baggies in cooking. The MOC is big on the "Baggie Omelet" Events and people should or should not participate depending upon how comfortable they are with the idea of using baggies to boil omelets.
I’m the person who introduced the “Baggie Omelet” idea at MOC Rallys. I'd like to have the credit of inventing the idea, but it’s been around for a long time. It's also been used by the Boy & Girl Scouts for years on their outings.
My husband, myself and the other two couples (Searchers & ToolManRoy
) who organized the first Lake Siskiyou Rally in California snuck down to the campground’s clubhouse early one morning during the rally and I showed them the Baggie Omelet idea for the next year’s Lake Siskiyou Rally. We also had "PartyCrashers
" crash the private breakfast to give their thoughts on it. They loved it and well, the rest is MOC history.
We first started making Baggie Omelets at home and on our own camping trips a couple of years before. I had heard the rumors about cancer, toxins and melting bags. I researched it and really didn’t see any concerns. But when I thought it might be a great group activity at a MOC rally, I called SCJohnson’s help line and discussed the rumors as I just wanted more reassurance before I introduced a large group of people to it. This might sound strange, but I was most concerned about the bags melting. Last thing we needed was the possibility of 60 melted baggies next year when people were expecting breakfast. We never had any trouble with the baggies melting in our own experiences, but like I said, I needed more reassurance when it came to cooking these in mass quantities.
Here are statements from SCJohnson addressing those rumors and they still have these statements on their website:
“A recent study conducted and published by the University of Cincinnati found that the estrogen-like chemical BPA (bisphenol A) has been shown to encourage the growth of a specific category of prostate cancer cells. BPA is commonly used in the manufacture of certain plastic products, such as food-can coatings, milk-container liners, food containers, and water-supply pipes. As a result, media have been reporting on this study and the fact that this chemical is commonly found in plastic food storage containers. SC Johnson does not use BPA
in its plastic products, Ziploc® Brand Bags and Containers. SC Johnson is a leader in providing high-quality products. All of its products are extensively evaluated for toxicity and safety and comply with—and often even exceed—applicable quality and safety regulations.”
“In 2002, we became aware of an email that was being widely circulated, which warned consumers about the alleged dangers of using plastics in the microwave. This email claimed that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body, thereby increasing the risk of producing cancerous cells. We researched these claims and it is clear that the information is misleading, and unnecessarily alarms consumers. Ziploc® Brand products are 100% dioxin free.
You also should be aware that dioxins can be formed only when chlorine is combined with extremely high temperatures, such as 1,500°F, which even the most powerful consumer microwave ovens are unable to produce.”
“No. Ziploc® Brand Bags are not designed to withstand the extreme heat of boiling.”
Which is still their standard answer word-for-word on their web site. As our conversation progressed, I related to her about our successful history of making baggie omelets and it turned out that they do not endorse boiling in the bags for liability purposes. But you won’t find that stated on their website.
I can give some tips that we have learned in our years of making Baggie Omelets:
We only use the SCJohnson brand
of Heavy-Duty Freezer "Ziploc" Baggies.
Because they don't use BPA in the making of their bags and their bags are 100% dioxin-free.
Only use a HEAVY-DUTY FREEZER QUART
Heavy-duty freezer bags are thicker than a regular baggie. A regular baggie will not hold up well in the cooking process. We use quart-size for the cook’s safety and ease in handling while the baggie is in the pot.
use the freezer baggie with the sliding “zipper”. I believe they currently call them “Slider Bags”.
It has the possibility of not sealing completely and the bottom of the baggie is an expandable bottom that opens into a flat base which would create a weird shaped omelet.
let any baggie hang over the side of the pot.
melt and quite possibly create a fire or at least ruin your pot.
Fill your pot no more than 2/3 of the way full.
This will allow for the water level to safely rise when adding in the baggies.
After your ingredients are in the baggie, zip it closed about 90%. Gently squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can and zip it closed the rest of the way.
This will allow room inside the baggie for the air to expand and not burst the baggie. It also helps keeps the liquid egg mixture down at the bottom of the bag.
We always have someone watching the pot when baggies are in it. Not only for safety reasons, but to watch the omelets to make sure they don’t flow to one end of the bag creating a big “blob” omelet, and to move the baggie positions around in the pot every couple of minutes to get even cooking.
Some people won't be comfortable in eating Baggie Omelets, and that's okay. Do as you are comfortable but don't let it keep you from participating in the event. Sign up and bring a side dish and your own precooked omelet (or whatever) to the event and enjoy the food and camaraderie that the MOC is famous for.
Here is the SC Johnson Consumer Phone line:
I hope you all have a great day.