The continuing saga of "Can I Eat This," microwave division
November 17, 2011 10:26 AM   Subscribe

Left the metal pop-top on the soup can when I microwaved it for lunch. I think the microwave is ok, but the really important question is: Can I eat the soup?

Confession: I went to the bathroom after I hit the Start button so I don't know exactly what went on for that minute or so, but when I came back it was still cooking and not sparking or smoking.

It's a plastic tub with a metal pop-top lid, similar to Campbell's soup-at-hand. I popped the corner of the plastic top to vent it, but didn't notice that it was sealed. I've scanned all the earlier AskMe microwave questions, including When is it ok to microwave metal?, but they all seem to be more concerned with the oven than the food.

(Please note, and I say this with love, my question is "Can I safely eat this?", not "Would you eat it?" because I've been here a while and a lot of MeFis will eat just about anything.)

Thanks for your quick responses. I'm starving!
posted by Sweetie Darling to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
I wouldn't have any hesitation, myself, if the plastic part seems intact.
posted by procrastination at 10:27 AM on November 17, 2011

Yes, you can safely eat it. The metal hasn't melted and infused the food or anything, and the food isn't going to give you an electric shock.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:30 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm pretty sure it's safe. Warnings about metal in the microwave have nothing to do with contaminating the food.
posted by DoubleLune at 10:31 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Is this one of those single serve type of cans? Some of those are actually microwave safe even though they look like their are made with metal.

Not sure how they do it, but it works.

Either way, it should be fine unless metal melted and dripped into the soup.
posted by lampshade at 10:34 AM on November 17, 2011

It's fine.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:36 AM on November 17, 2011

Give it the smell test. If it doesn't smell bad you're probably fine.

Otherwise just take the normal hot food out of the microwave precautions.
posted by theichibun at 10:37 AM on November 17, 2011

Concerns about plastic in the microwave: Chemicals leaking out into the food.
Concerns about metal in the microwave: Explosions.
If the pop-top were going to be a safety concern, you'd already know.
posted by chickenmagazine at 10:39 AM on November 17, 2011 [6 favorites]

Another safety concern about metal in the microwave is that it can sheild the food from the microwaves, preventing it from cooking fully. This shouldn't be a problem with canned foods such as soup; it might not be as hot as you want but otherwise fine.

Also of note on this topic, Revereware used to make a metal pan for use in the microwave. My mother has one that has been used for years and it works just fine.
posted by TedW at 11:21 AM on November 17, 2011

All the sparks should add some extra flavor, kind of like grilling in the microwave, otherwise I don't see a worry unless you are consuming melted plastic etc.
posted by caddis at 11:37 AM on November 17, 2011

The only way I can think of this would hurt you is if the metal got hot and caused molten, burning plastic to get into your food. (If the plastic is of a sort that simply getting it hot leaches poison into your food, then you're screwed regardless; if not, then you can probably just look at the soup and ask, "Does this have yucky burnt plastic all over it?")
posted by hattifattener at 12:05 PM on November 17, 2011

Response by poster: You all are great - thanks so much. As TedW mentioned might happen, the soup was actually lukewarm because the metal shielded it from the heat. Reheated with the lid off, and hooray for lunch.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 12:12 PM on November 17, 2011

The kind of metal that it's really bad to have in a microwave are things like forks, because for a number of very fascinating reasons, metal with sharp points (like the tines on a fork) causes energy to be concentrated there, and then enthusiastic sparking occurs.

A large round piece of metal without a number of sharp points on it (jagged edges from a can opener non-withstanding) doesn't have the same profile, and is much less of a fire+explosion danger.
posted by Jerub at 4:42 PM on November 17, 2011

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