Glass food storage: defect or damage?
October 4, 2022 10:21 AM   Subscribe

I can see and feel what looks to be a small scratch in a new glass food storage container. Is this safe to use or no?

We got new glass food storage containers from Ikea, used only once or twice so far.

I was doling out the last of some leftovers when I noticed what looked like a scratch on the inside of the container. I do not recall seeing it when I first inspected the container after purchase.

Image here. It's the best I could manage to capture.

Is it a scratch, or a defect? Is the container safe to use? Is the food I just took out of it safe to eat? Should I not be using metal utensils with glass food storage containers? I have only ever used plastic containers, so I am fully ignorant here.

My adage for such situations is "when in doubt, throw it out," but I am hungry and reluctant to think I may have ruined both my lunch and a new purchase, and I would rather not waste a container in case I am being overly cautious.
posted by rustybullrake to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's just a scratch. You'll be fine.
posted by Optamystic at 10:27 AM on October 4, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: It's OK so long as you don't heat it or chill it rapidly, and don't put it in the microwave. Sometimes there are small flaws in glass that aren't obvious until later. You are most likely safe to eat from it for now; it looks like dishwasher damage or a slight flaw in the surface that didn't throw off enough glass to hurt anyone. Metal utensils are OK in glass, in general. The real problem with glass is either dropping it or dropping something on it, or rapid changes in temperature.

However, I have had scratched/chipped/starred glass that was otherwise OK explode on me, and I don't recommend it. In every case I was boiling a canning jar or microwaving a mug that had a crack or flaw. Replace the piece. IKEA might let you exchange it, they are really good about that.
posted by blnkfrnk at 10:29 AM on October 4, 2022

Best answer: I'd totally use that.

The most I would do for safety's sake would be to stick to using it just for things like nuts or beans or prewrapped candies - you know, larger and dry items, as opposed to using it for powdery things (like flour or sugar) or for liquids. But this is an excess of caution.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:54 AM on October 4, 2022

Best answer: I am a glassblower and I can say with certainty that small particles of glass are not something you want to ingest. That being said:

I use scratched glass jars and bowls for food without blinking. If you want to be extra careful you can rid it of any potential loose glass bits by washing it. If you want to be extra safe you could choose to toss the food that was in the jar but I wouldn't go that far personally.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 12:15 PM on October 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all. Looks like I'll be hanging onto it.

I'm less worried about thermal shocks and explosions than I am about ingesting small bits of glass (I cannot seem to find anyone else sharing this concern via Google), but that's probably funny coming from someone whose blood is roughly 30% microplastics by volume.
posted by rustybullrake at 12:30 PM on October 4, 2022

That's actually a good counter-question - what exactly was your planned/intended use in the first place? Bringing your lunch to school/work, or pantry storage, or....?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:05 AM on October 5, 2022

Response by poster: Just storing leftovers in my fridge.

I'm hoping to gradually move away from using plastic food storage containers by replacing them with glass ones. This was one of two I got as an experiment. I think it's this one.

It contained these leftovers. I ate them anyway with no obvious symptoms of death or internal bleeding, so that's good?

Yesterday's anxious googling showed that borosilicate glass shouldn't be able to be damaged by steel cutlery, so I'm leaning toward blnkfrnk's suggestion of "dishwasher damage" as the best available explanation, which I assume means heat stress from the machine's drying cycle? Lesson learned.

I guess I'll just hand wash it from now on, anxiously worry at the scratch with my finger before using it to store food, and hold my breath whenever I have to use it to store anything hot until I get around to replacing it. Eventually.
posted by rustybullrake at 2:44 PM on October 5, 2022

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