Is sous vide safe?

Doug Flicker's sous vide-cooked dishes at Piccolo are delicious, but are they safe?

Fortunately, food science guru Harold McGee has been deeply involved with the science of sous vide (he wrote the intro for Thomas Keller's Under Pressure and consulted on all explanations related to the chemical processes of sous vide cooking). In food writer Michael Ruhlman's blog, McGee discusses concerns related to cooking in plastic and the possibility of the plastic degrading into the food:

"What I would say," he wrote, "is that all commercial wraps have been much tested and don't seem to pose much risk. Polyethylene in particular, the standard cling film, is made without plasticizers and is least likely to release chemicals into foods. Saran is now polyethylene (used to be PVDC). Cryovac is a proprietary sandwich of different plastic layers that apparently includes PVC or PVDC, but the food-contact layer is polyethylene."

So, pressure's off. Seems it's safe to indulge in sous vide-cooked foods.

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