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Food Safety and Quality

Question 1

What is the effect of warming up the expressed mothers’ breast milk in a plastic storage bag?

Answer 1

Breast milk is the best food for babies. There are many ways to store expressed breast milk. It can be stored in milk bottles, containers or in milk storage bags. Milk storage bags are usually made from plastic; namely polyethylene and polypropylene. It is the usual practice to warm up breast milk in a heater (warmer) before giving to babies.

Mothers are advised not to worry about the plastic because the materials used to manufacture the milk storage bags are safe. Besides, the temperature used in heating is also not high.

However, nursery operators (childcare centres) are advised to follow the recommendation of the Nutrition Division of the Ministry of Health, Malaysia which states that warming up the expressed milk should be done by directly placing the milk bottle containing the breast milk in a container of warm water. This procedure is also in line with the recommendation of the World Health Organisation (WHO). In addition, thawing of frozen expressed milk should be avoided at room temperature, over the fire or using the microwave. This is to prevent damage to the milk and if the temperature is too hot, it can cause injury to the baby.


Question 2

How do I use wrappers or plastic food containers in the correct way?

Answer 2

All users who use wrappers or plastic food containers are advised to use it the correct way as follows:

  1. Read the manufacturer’s instructions, if any, to ensure correct use;
  2. Avoid direct heating of food in plastic food containers except for plastic containers that are indicated as ‘microwaveable’;
  3. Avoid placing or storing food or beverages that are too hot directly in plastic containers;
  4. For cleaning reusable food containers, use cleaning materials that are soft such as  sponge or a soft brush to prevent the surface of plastic containers being damaged and scratched; and
  5. Dispose food containers that are too old or that have been damaged or scratched.


Last Review: 19 February 2013

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