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topic 41738

Stainless Steel / Iron leaching from cookware


I have an iron overload condition where my body accumulates too much iron and stores it. I'm supposed to avoid iron cookware. I'm looking to purchase new cookware (pots and pans, spatula, etc.) and was going to buy all stainless steel. THe pots and pans I'm interested in are ALL-CLAD (its 3-ply stainless steel that sandwiches a aluminum core. It's 18/10 stainless steel on the inside of pan, a pure aluminum core, and magnetic stainless steel on the outside of the pot). Then I read online that stainless steel has iron in it. Is it possible for the iron in stainless steel to leach out into your food, like it does with a cast iron grill? If I were to use stainless steel utensils (spatula, ladle, etc) on the pots and pans could it scrap metal (and hence iron) fillings into my food. I also received a Le Creuset pot as a gift. Its iron covered by ceramic enamel. Is there any way the iron from this could get into my food? Thank you so much! No one seems to know the answers to this questions so maybe someone out there can help:)

Leslie Tanner
Human Resources - Miami, FL, U.S.A.

First of two simultaneous responses -- (2006)

Yes, it is quite possible to get some iron leaching out of the stainless steel into your food. Under normal circumstances it would not be nearly as much as with cast iron, but especially in the presence of acidy foods, like tomato sauce, you could get SOME iron coming out. Stainless steel (18?10) is still around 70% iron. When properly passivated, the surface layer is almost all chromium oxide. But, this layer is very thin, and would surely be scraped away quickly with stainless steel utensils. You should only use plastic utensils of some kind.

If you cannot tolerate any iron at all, you should use aluminum cookware possibly, with plastic utensils.

Good luck.

lee kremer
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Lee Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
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Second of two simultaneous responses -- (2006)

My non-medical opinion is that corrosion resistance of the stainless is sufficiently high such that any iron leaching into food would be relatively negligible compared to iron naturally present in food. Use a nylon spatula to avoid scratching; a ladle should be OK. Avoid scratching the enameled pot; maybe use wooden spoons for stirring. Some enamels contain iron oxide, so don't use with acids such as vinegar.

Ken Vlach
- Goleta, California
contributor of the year honored Ken for his countless carefully
researched responses. He passed away May 14, 2015.
Rest in peace, Ken. Thank you for your hard work
which the finishing world continues to benefit from.


I think that you will get many times more iron from food than you will ever get from SS cookware.
If you have high iron in your blood, have you considered becoming a regular blood bank donor? Will help you and save other lives.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

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