is it ok to store food in those plastic storage bins? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I've already posted this question in the context of two other threads tonight, but my anxiety level is rising so thought I'd make this a separate thread.

We are storing already packaged food (like those freeze-dried camping meals and boxed pasta) in those plastic storage tote bins that one can get at Ames, Walmart or BJs. Have we made a bad mistake? Should we not be storing foodstuffs in those sorts of containers -- even if the food is already packaged? Should we not use the bins at all? Should I put the already packaged food into a zip loc bag?


-- Libby Alexander (, March 20, 1999



If the food is in it's original packages in the plastic bins, you have made them rodent resistant.

Your question sounds urgent. Why? More info please.

Do'nt panic and keep well,

-- Watchful (, March 20, 1999.

Watchful -- Question was urgent because someone said to be concerned about plastic fumes leaching into the food... Any ideas? Guess I really wouldn't want to store grains and beans in there without some kind of other protection. Maybe I should do the zip loc bag thingy to add another layer between the food stuff and the bin?

Thanks for your response. Am going to get some sleep now.

-- Libby Alexander (, March 20, 1999.

Libby, Don't know if you saw it but I posted my opinion on this thread here.

-- sparks (, March 21, 1999.

Sleep well, the food is just fine in the original container. The plastic buckets will slow down the mice and other rodents. but remember you are not storing this food for 20 years.... If you need it you will be eating it within the next 1-18 months. The plastic fumes will not "rot the food". It may leach a small amount, but you could get that much from driving in a new car to work every day... Maybe a long term (50-100year) cancer risk but you will not be living on this diet for 20 years either.

Relax, you have made the first step in protecting yourself, read, explore the web and survival sites, you will find both good and not so usefull information.

Good luck to you, I hope this helps.....

-- helium (, March 21, 1999.

We are using these plastic containers to store dry gravy, soap, etc. Any food is in the original package. The label on the containers say they can be used as "shoe boxes" and other misc. item storage. We did find one style with a label that mentioned food storage. When I called the manufacturer, they were surprised at this and admitted that they were not food grade containers.


-- Floyd Baker (, March 21, 1999.

The plastic buckets will slow down the mice and other rodents.

She didn't say buckets. She said storage bins, like what you're supposed to pile full of itchy sweaters and slide under the bed, never to be seen again. (out of sight....)

Those are not suitable for food storage. Far from it. Double bagging will give a good degree of barrier, but make sure not to use the storage containers that are not food-grade for storing raw, unbagged foods.

Mr. K
***wondering why so many water and food posts tonight?***

-- Mr. Kennedy (, March 21, 1999.

55 gallon steel drums are defitnatly rodent-proof. Look in the yellow pages under 'barrels', there is probably a company in your area selling 55 gallon drums with a removable, gasketed lid for $20-$40. Load it up, and laugh at the rats.

-- storer (, March 21, 1999.

Can't sleep. Went down to basement and looked at stack of plastic bins. One solution may be to follow Sparks advice and get steel garbage cans. (Could use bins to store soap, shampoo, etc. like Floyd suggests.) Another might be to get drum liners (see US Plastics reference above) to use in those bins (even though they'd be a tad big). Another is to double bag everything and cross my fingers. I hate all this logistics stuff!

Mr. Kennedy -- I too noted all the food/water posts before I posted. I think that folks are getting real involved in the nitty gritty of preps...

-- Libby Alexander (, March 21, 1999.

Two things here. 1. Storage life of food; the self life on the package, is when the store should remove them from sale to the public. They will last much longer than that. 2. As long as your food is in the original packaging your plastic containers will be fine. Mine is stored in them to keep out the critters. I have used some of it after 8 months, and there is no plastic taste. Just don't store loose food in them. I have all so used the containers to add some order to this mess. Seeds in one ,books in two, batteries in one, ect. I'm not use to keeping this much STUFF around the house.

-- SCOTTY (, March 21, 1999.

Last year I picked up quite a few "half-sized" ice chests and coolers at yard sales--should be food grade, right? Am storing beans in two, coffee in another, rice in another. I paid around $2-3 each for these good-sized, sturdy containers. But I'm going to be buying some metal garbage cans to extend storage (after we move/take the house off the market). Think rust. Had a brainwave--what about painting the bottom rim of metal cans with that rubbery stuff sold to coat tool handles? Easier than finding and hauling pallets to stand the things on.

-- Old Git (, March 21, 1999.

libby- basic rule of thumb i think is that food in its original or similar container can be safely stored in those big plastic bins- includes rice, pasta, flour, wheat, etc. Food stored loose, such as rice/wheat taken from a 50 lb bag should be stored in food grade buckets. Relax....

-- anita (, March 21, 1999.

The rubber coating idea probably won't work too well. If placed directly on a concrete or dirt floor, the weight of the can's contents (a 30-gallon can will hold approximately 250 pounds of wheat) will probably cut through the rubber coating in no time. The other reason you need airspace under a metal can of any type is so that you don't get condensation inside. Heck, you don't need pallets for this, just a couple of hunks of 2X4's a foot-and-a-half long will do - just get the cans off the floor an inch or two.

-- sparks (, March 21, 1999.

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