HK Test finds popular plastic spatulas release cancer-causing substance and toxins when used in cooking


We’ve used and come across so many so-called heat-resistant plastic spatulas in the market, but we never really sure about its safety. 

Recently, the Consumer Council in Hong Kong found that many ‘heat-resistant’ plastic spatulas will melt and release toxins that can cause cancer when used in cooking as some of them melted and deformed when soaked in hot oil.

According to the press release, the Consumer Council tested 17 models of Chinese-style plastic spatulas and found that half of them had overall residue migration exceeding the European Union (EU) limit.

The 17 spatulas tested by Consumer Council in Hong Kong

Credit: HK01

One model produced by JMJ and manufactured in China particularly failed to meet its claimed heat-resistance temperature after its head melted and deformed within 60 seconds when soaked in oil at 220°C – proves that it failed to withstand that much heat as claimed on the packaging.

A JMJ spatula turned out to be not as heat-resistant as it claimed.

Credit: SAYS

Five other models also failed in meeting the EU requirements of primary aromatic amine (PAA) migration of which one model namely Ideale Chef has the highest migration content – exceeded the standard by 11 times.

Primary aromatic amine (PAA) is a carcinogen that has potential risks of causing cancer such as bladder and breast tumors as it can migrate to food through kitchenware and food packaging.

As reported by HK01, the other four spatulas mentioned are from these brands:

  1. Tefal
  2. Chef’s Favor
  3.  EZ Cook
  4. Circulon

The five spatulas that failed to meet the migration of PAA standards.

Credit: HK01

Instead of the self-claimed heat-resistant spatulas, it turned out that Daiso and IKEA models showed better performance results. The Daiso model changed color slightly after a 15-minute boil in oil, while the IKEA spatula performed the best among other brands.

Look at how blistered the Ideale Chef’s spatula was after the oil boiling test. 

Credit: HK01

Due to this, the public is advised to use wooden or bamboo spatulas when deep frying or for use in prolonged heat as a safer option, and try not to leave the spatulas in a hot pot or hot oil when cooking to avoid any deformation.

Remember these following notes when purchasing and using plastic spatulas:

  1. Read the product label carefully to understand its heat resistance temperature and maintenance methods before purchase.
  2. Inspect the surface of the turner to see if it is smooth. Check if it has sharp edge or spikes and also take note on its weight, length, head width, curvature and size to ensure it fits the non-stick pan used at home
  3. Chemical substances may be released and migrated into food when using plastic spatula under high temperature.
  4. Prolonged direct contact with hot oil, sour food, or food with alcohol should be abstained to avoid migration of carcinogenic substances into food.

Watch the test results here: