Food Dehydrators With Stainless Steel Trays (BPA-Free) Have Arrived
Fill a few plastic trays with sliced bananas, apples and grapes you just bought from your trusted organic grocer, slide the trays into a food dehydrator, and you'll be rewarded with a ton of healthy snacks in a couple of hours. That's how easy making healthy snacks in a food dehydrator is – in theory. The problem is that unless you're using a food dehydrator with stainless steel trays or racks made of another non-toxic material, the dried snacks you pick off the trays may contain harmful chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA).
In this article, we take a look at the potential health risks associated with cheap food dryers that use trays made of BPA-containing plastic; explain why the best food dehydrators have stainless steel trays; and provide price information to give you an idea of how much you should be prepared to pay for a high-quality food dryer with plastic-free racks.
The problem with plastic trays in food dehydrators
Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, is a chemical found in plastic items, including many food dehydrators. BPA is known to act as an endocrine disruptor, meaning that it is capable of interfering with human hormone systems. This means that any part of the human body that is controlled by hormones may be affected by excessive exposure to BPA.
Health problems and diseases that may be linked to exposure to BPA and other similar endocrine disruptors include kidney and heart problems, neurological disorders, certain types of cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome, asthma, and diabetes – to name just a few.
Some scientists also believe that BPA may be particularly harmful to children and embryos whose systems are more vulnerable. To boost consumer confidence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups in 2012; however, the agency continues to allow the use of BPA in other plastic products – including food dehydrator trays – saying further evidence of the potential dangers of BPA is needed before a stricter ban can be introduced.
Stainless steel comes to the rescue
While the FDA and the U.S. National Institutes of Health are continuing their scientific studies to assess the safety of BPA use, skeptical consumers are demanding non-plastic products that are free of BPA and other potentially toxic chemicals found in plastic. As a result, products made of high-quality stainless steel, one of the safest materials out there, have enjoyed a surge in popularity.
Unlike many other materials used in the cookware and food storage industries, stainless steel is non-reactive, and it can handle acidic foods without a problem. This makes stainless steel an ideal material for food dehydrators which often come in contact with acidic foods (think halved tomatoes, apple rings dipped in lemon juice, or sliced pineapple – for example). On the downside, stainless steel is quite expensive compared to plastic, and the list prices for food dehydrators with high-quality stainless steel trays usually range from US$350 to US$600.
Where to find a dehydrator with stainless steel trays?
If you're willing to bite the bullet and buy a more expensive dehydrator, take note: cheaper food dehydrators with plastic trays are still dominating the markets in the US and UK, and finding a high-quality food dehydrator with stainless steel trays in your nearest department store may turn out to be a challenge.
If you cannot find a dehydrator with stainless steel trays in a regular store or just happen to prefer online shopping, head to Amazon.com or its UK or Canada based branches where you can order high-quality food dehydrators featuring stainless steel trays at very reasonable prices: