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Oxidation on pots, pans, etc

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by princess, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    Some metal items, if placed in a dishwasher, or washed at certain temperatures, or with certain chemicals can change color.

    Super shiny stocks pots can go a lusterless gray, for example. Have you had this happen to you? This process is called Oxidation.

    It can be unsightly, sure, if you care about that (but I know what the inside walls of a smoker looks like and Eeeewww...) but here is my question:

    Does oxidation pose a health problem?

    Please cite sources if you have them.
  2. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    It shouldn't. 

    Most metals (Silver, Copper, Aluminum, etc.) oxidize with time and in the presence of Oxygen. 

    On most you can restore the luster by using semi-chrome polish or silver polish...  Now I am not sure that will work on all metals...
  3. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  4. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Since you brought it up.  A while back, I was setting up to grind some meat and I noticed the metal parts of the grinder were covered in some type of oxide dust (grayish black in color).  Yes, I run all the metal parts thru the dishwasher.  Then I place in ziplocs for storage until needed for the next grind.  The metal parts, with the exception of the cutting blade and the hole plates (sorry, forgot the proper name for them) appear to be made of pot metal or perhaps a very coarse aluminum.  I ended up spending an extra 20 minutes or so, wiping everything down again to get rid of the dust.  Any ideas to prevent this from recurring?
  5. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    don't know if it's bad for ya but if it will rub off it ain't right....kinda hard to make a nice lookin bechamel sauce.
  6. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    Those plates are called the "die" for your grinder. ;)
  7. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    Well, I'm looking at my grinder parts (specifically my hopper, the screw itself and the nut that holds the screw and the die in place.) So I sure as heck am not making bechamel here! :)  I cannot get it to rub off by hand, though have not tried "Bartenders Friend" or any other commercial product yet.

    Here's my thing: I sterilize EVERYTHING that touches meat when I make sausage. I have done enough research that I really won't even eat (much) sausage unless I make it myself. I DO place all my parts in the dishwasher, as the heat there is way more than my skin can handle in the sink. I also use bleachwater for all soaking etc.

    What concerns me now is whether or not this grayish cast will pose any kind of a health concern, and if so, WHY ... what do I have to look out for? Or is it just unsightly?

  8. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    This problem (?) was noticed last August.  After grinding the meat, I washed the grinder parts as usual then sprayed down with Pam.  I just now finished examining the parts and there was no reoccurrence of the "dust".  Of course, I'll run the items thru the dishwasher to remove the Pam before grinding up a batch of whatever (edit note: See change two below).  My apologies for the use of the word "dust" as I realize it's probably not the correct term for the residue that I got after wiping my fingertip on the metal and noticing the "stuff".

    Uh, change two.  Out of curiosity, I dug out the instruction manual for my Weston Grinder and it says on the Cleaning Page:

    "3.  Wash all parts that come in contact with food in hot soapy water.  Rinse with clear water.  Dry immediately.  The Grinder parts are not dishwasher safe.   Do NOT use bleach."

    On another page (Component List) it cites the parts as either Aluminum or Stainless Steel.

    I'm fanatical about using disinfecting wipes on everything and according to the label, contains no bleach, so I'll continue using them until those who know better than me say different.

    And on a side note, the plates with holes are known as grinding plates of which I have three.  In another company's manual perhaps they're called something different but we all knew that.
  9. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks, NWDave!! This is exactly what I mean!!

    See, that's just it. I read "not safe" and the only thing I can come up with is that they oxidize, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why oxidation would not be "safe"  Not pretty? Sure. Not safe? Where do they get that from?

    I also bleach the heck out of everything I use... if I'm slowly poisoning myself, I wanna know... I only do things the way I do them because this is how Iearned from when I was very little. I've always done it this way. Modern knowledge knows better, I guess? I just want to know what they mean. Is it not safe for the finish on the metal? Not safe for my family?

    Grinding plates, die, pieces of metal that I squish tasty chunks of meat through... All sounds good to me!! [​IMG]

    Lastly... My disinfecting wipes contain AMMONIA. I had *no* idea!! I learned this the hard way when I wiped up a bleach spill with one. ::ugggh:: [​IMG]   Never again. I keep them separate now. 
  10. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I am just one of those OLD fashioned guys that doesn't put anything in the dishwasher but dishes.  Nothing wrong with those that do. I just like the control and the personal inspection and I use HOT soapy water with a little bleach and it works for me.  If the manual says no dishwasher I beleive them. It is there for some reason. Again everyone to their own ways and what ever works best for that person  
  11. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Anything that is polished aluminum is going to tarnish when it is used...  Using anything that is acidic or using bleach will react to the aluminum and cause it to tarnish or cause corrosion... Same with the cast iron grinders that are tin plated...
  12. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If an item is stamped with or labeled to read: not dishwasher safe, that refers to either the high temp of the water/drying cycle, or the highly caustic detergents which are specifically manufactured for use in dishwashers which can cause serious damage to the item in question.

    When dealing with metals, we need to exercise some due caution with our cleaning habits. Stainless steel can handle most anything we can throw at if it's for household use. Cast iron (whether tinned or not), carbon steel, copper and aluminum are very susceptible to the reactive abilities of acids (tomato, onion, fruits) or caustics (chlorine/bleach, ). Even commercially-built chrome plated smoker grates can become damaged by certain cleaning compounds or methods (steel wool/SOS pads, scotch-brite pads). By any means available, you should protect any carbon-based metals with a food-grade oil when not in use, then, remove the oil film prior to use if necessary.

    If you are really hardcore about disinfecting your meat handling equipment, maybe try a bottle of 70% Isopropyl Alcohol. I have 2 - 1 quart bottles on hand right now, and one is always within easy reach for dipping a meat thermo probe into after washing/drying. I give it a minute or 2 to evaporate the volatile alcohol before stabbing a large cut of meat. With paper towels, it makes a great wipe-down for knives, boards, etc. and is dirt cheap compared to anything else sold for the specific purpose of disinfecting/sanitizing. For commercial food handlers, this is likely not an acceptable method according to FDA/state guidelines due to the need for documented proof of a specific germicidal brand's effectiveness on HBV, HIV, etc. For private in-home use, they can't say squat about it, and since this is one of the few times/places the feds can't get in the middle of my private life.........damn right I'll do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Edit: btw, salt will react with aluminum as well if left for long enough...I ruined to turkey fryer pot a few years ago that way [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
  13. Bleach will also ave an adverse effect on stainless steel.  I lost a Stanley Thermos due to bleach.
  14. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Ok, I think I have enough information now, thanks to Scarbelly, Forluvofsmoke, and Beer-B-Q to formulate a safe cleaning technique.  The aluminum parts don't get into the dishwasher, the stainless parts do.  Hot, soapy water,  rubbing alcohol wipedown, spray with food safe oil (does Pam fit this category as long as I remove it before using the grinder?).  Sounds like a plan I can live with.

    Another thing about stainless steel, as in cups and such, they don't like brewed tea either.  Turned my gunpowder tea very bitter.
  15. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    mineral oil is what i use to lube my slicer and seal cutting boards.........won't go ransid and is safe to ingest. i slathered it on scarbelly's food last time he was here, i knew he was going to be on the road for a while............[​IMG]
  16. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Another vote for mineral oil.  Great stuff and very versatile!
  17. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    That must be why he hurried home....
  18. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Thanks to Beer-B-Q's, uh, remarks.....I should add that I'm sure it was intended that we use FOOD GRADE mineral oil as the other type is only to be used under a doctor's supervision for, uh, rather cleansing reasons.
  19. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Tomato ketchup with clean the copper really nice (I believe it is the vinegar that does it) You could soak in vinegar but ketchup is easier, just spread it around and let sit a while then wipe it clean. We used it to clean a bunch of exposed copper fire sprinkler piping in a job we just engineered here at work. It made it really shiny!
  20. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    I don't understand that one. I will fill my stanley's with water and bleach and also my starbucks coffee containers and let sit over night. Only the inside, not outside and they are like new. Been doing this for many many years.  [​IMG]