If you surf and search the internet you’ll come across a number of sites claiming that you should throw out your microwave. Some claim that the microwaves are radiating your body and causing damage as you would experience in the vicinity of a nuclear reactor melt-down. Others say that the microwaves destroy all nutrients in the food, rendering it less healthy, and even dangerous. Like all good myths, these seem to persist despite consistent scientific evidence to the contrary. Provided you are using your microwave in accordance with the instructions, it is not only safe, but capable of producing healthy cooked food.
First, what are the microwaves that are generated in a Panasonic microwave oven? They are a type of electromagnetic radiation. They do not irradiate the food or heat the food like a mini thermo-nuclear bomb blast. The waves simply cause water molecules present in food to vibrate. These vibrations create heat and that is how the food is heated. From within, by the energy created by vibrating water molecules.
The waves are produced by an electron tube safely sealed within the oven called a magnetron. The waves are reflected within the oven’s metal interior. The waves can pass through glass, paper, plastic, and similar materials; but they are absorbed by the water molecules within food. All manufacturers of microwaves are required by laws to certify that their microwave ovens comply with strict emission limits. The emission limits are well below the threshold for risk to public health. All countries that manufacture modern microwaves have laws requiring these limits to be achieved in order to be able to make microwaves, while countries selling them must make sure they have certificates confirming the emission limits are met.
But microwaves can be dangerous is not used carefully. While injuries from microwaves are far and few between, the most common injuries occur when guidelines regarding the heating of foods are not followed and/or care is not taken when taking the hot food or liquids from the microwave. When instructions about the types of vessel that can be used in microwaves (“microwave-safe”) are not followed, containers can melt or even explode.
A simple checklist to make sure you, and your microwave remain healthy is here:
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instruction manual for recommended operating procedures and safety precautions.
- Don’t operate a microwave oven if the door doesn’t close firmly or is bent, warped, or otherwise damaged.
- Refer to the instruction manual for your oven. Some microwave ovens should not be operated when empty.
- Use cookware that is specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven. Glass, ceramic containers, and all plastics should have a label indicating that they are suitable for microwave oven use.
- Metal pans or aluminium foil should not be used in a microwave because the microwaves reflect off them, causing food to cook unevenly and possibly damaging the oven.
- Follow the times and settings given for food and drinks where this is given. For liquids such as milk and water, check the instruction manual for the recommended times. Do not exceed these.
Now go look online for some tasty microwave recipes that are quick, tasty and nutritious!