All clingwraps are not equal

Just a heads up folks. Coles 300metre clingwrap is not microwave safe even though it has directions for using in microwave.
Coles have confirmed this.


Thanks for posting. Coles advertises its use for reheating foods in the microwave. so it is confusing they would have confirmed it is not microwave safe.

Is it this product?

Have you been able to ascertain if that is because it melts, gives off gases, or something else? If Coles has given you a written statement it is not microwave safe yet has microwave instructions on the box as well as advertises its use in reheating in a microwave it would be worrisome. Would you post the Coles statement?


Yes that’s the product.

How can I paste a screen shot of my communication with Coles?

Download it to Gallery (or File Manager etc), then go to the upload icon - 6th from the left in the toolbar at the top of the reply box.

I would be interested to know regarding the biodegradable part of some plastic wrap as many claim will break down. Commonly it is spotted with many brands. Im not sure if this has been tested before.

I wonder if the confusion lies with…

The box says not to use it with a microwave browning unit or browning dish. This possibly applies to any cling film as the browning units/dishes get superheated which may exceed the maximum temperature of the film to still be food safe (could cause them to melt or burn).

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Thanks for posting that, and it is troubling. An educated guess is the message from their media unit might be wrong but considering the ramifications if it is correct is something Choice would have more leverage discovering than a consumer.

@BrendanMays, @MattSteen, would you take the statement from the Coles chat off-line with @hawkinsml for any additional details of the pasted exchange, and have a responsible person at Choice follow up w/Coles for a formal statement regarding the q & a @hawkinsml posted?


That’s interesting. Thanks for flagging this with us, I’ll follow up with the relevant teams at CHOICE.


Personally I avoid using plastic in the microwave, as microwaves generate small hot spots which cause plastics to emit toxic chemicals, regardless of whether they are called “microwave safe” or not. All plastics are composed of chemicals which are toxic if liberated from their polymer chains. Many of these chemicals bio-accumulate.

If I am heating something which was frozen in a plastic storage container then I defrost in the container to the minimum extent practical and then transfer it to a glass or ceramic container to continue heating.

Do you have some examples?

From Michigan State University

That, and FDA and ARPANSA advice all state cling wraps labelled as microwave safe are as claimed. Each also states cling wrap should not touch food while being microwaved. The myriad sources on the net have opinions that are in agreement, some more conservative than others, but few sites have authoritative status.

The Choice test shows all but one tested product is ‘suitable for microwaving’ but the ‘How We Test’ reflects a microwave reheating test to see if the cling film can withstand heat and any contact with fatty, hot food without shrinking or breaking. That apparently does not include sampling potential vapours or leeching – I would be surprised if Choice had that level of instrumentation.

Some cling wraps display a microwave safe logo, some have text on the box, some have text on the manufacturer web site, and others such as the Coles product? The closest I can find is from a 3rd party site one can take or leave as authoritative.

We believe that Coles brand cling wrap (made of Polyethylene) is safe for microwave use. It has been approved by SGS – the world’s leading inspection and verification company. Always watch out for toxic parts in food containers as a rule of thumb. However, the Coles brand cling wrap uses only food-grade ingredients, which is totally safe. –

I look forward to Coles response to Choice.


The primary type of plastic for clingwrap is polyethylene. Which is carbon and hydrogen.
Toxic? You cannot be serious. A large part of you is made up of those two elements. As is all life.

What are the additives (plasticisers, stabilisers etc) commonly used in the different cling film formulations?

Plastics are everywhere in medical science, used regularly to sew wounds back together, repairs to damaged body parts (stents to hip artificial joints) and more. Recently mesh implants and breast enhancement products offer cause to question. I wonder what we did before plastics? I can barely remember the days before cling films.

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Quite serious as the point made about being toxic related to byproducts of the superheating of cling film. Burning polyethylene in a microwave is possible such as when using a browning unit/plate. This can release a number of undesirable and potentially toxic compounds (source):

This is possibly why Coles places a warning on their cling film packaging about the film not being suitable for microwave use when browning units/dishes are used.

While cling (polyethylene) film is a hydrogen and carbon compound, unless burning is in controlled conditions are extremely high temperature, other compounds are formed.


So the statement that “all plastics are toxic” can equally apply to anything.
Anything containing carbon and hydrogen, and that is all in polyethylene, can be considered toxic if that were in any way true.
How the constituent elements that make up a molecule are somehow rearranged and or combined with other elements through some chemical process can range from fundamental to life, to kill you.

With all due respect, that argument is totally illogical, to the point of stupidity. I say that as someone with a post-graduate degree in Chemistry. By your definition hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen are all non-toxic elements which make up a large part of our bodies. Now, combine one atom of each to make the compound HCN. That’s the formula of hydrogen cyanide gas, which is highly toxic. I strongly recommend you don’t try to prove your point by inhaling it!!


See my previous post which makes the same point as yours.

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I use both Multix and Glad Wrap, both marked suitable for microwaves; except browning unit/dish (Glad Wrap) & browning units, combination or conventional ovens (Multix). Both BPA free.

I notice the BPA free cling film tends to melt or cling tightly to glass dishes and plates after cooking. It takes a lot of picking to get an edge to lift to remove it, and it often tears so can’t be reused on that dish. This is in comparison with the version before BPA free.