Warning: Possible problems with new Ziploc bags

Ziploc brand bags have been a go-to for corn allergy people for some time now. Plastics can be an issue for corn allergies, but the particular plastic in ziploc bags was from petroleum and was not dusted or oiled with anything. I personally have been using Ziploc bags for freezer storage, cosmetic and utensil storage, packing while traveling, and even to package my custom processed meat. Well, as it turns out, nothing good can last forever, because there may be an issue with the new version of the Ziploc bags that hit the shelves a few weeks ago.

The new bags have an “easy open tab” and look like this.


In addition to the new closure, the bag itself is a different texture, simultaneously thinner and shinier, and a couple of the very, very sensitive folks have reported reactions to it. One of the people reporting reactions was also the first to notice an issue with the new Ball BPA-free canning lids, so I am minded to heed this warning and exercise caution. Around the same time as people started reporting reactions, i started having some signs of mystery inflammation that started around the same time as I started using the new bags here and there. I also added back the honey that I had run out of for a few weeks that had been safe for me previously around that time, so I have cut them both and will update this post if re-introduction reveals a clear culprit.

For now, I would not panic, just exercise caution with these new bags. If you are in a delicate health state or have delayed or hard to pin reactions, I would not try them until you have your diet otherwise stable so that you don’t get confused about what the cause of any potential issues is.

I have not done any work to contact Ziploc and find out what they say changed or not, I am only reporting reactions at this time. if someone does correspond with Ziploc and wants to post those results here, that would be welcome.

Update Feb 2017: A couple months ago I re-introduced the Big Tab ziploc bags and had esophageal swelling from all food that had been in one. Not safe for me. I can’t be sure if this is a corn issue or not, but they are definitely not okay for me. I have a stockpile of the old-style bags and am moving to glass pyrex or anchor hocking storage containers, mason jars, metal U-Conserve storage containers, and other reusable options  when possible, and Reynolds brand aluminum foil when I absolutely need something disposable.


Update June 2017:  I have been using the Ziploc stand & fill slider bags, both the freezer & storage, since last Feb and have been doing great with them. These may be an option for you if the easy-tabs don’t work.

13 thoughts on “Warning: Possible problems with new Ziploc bags

  1. Hi, First off, thank you for all the work and research you do. I reacted to my rice that was put in one of these darn bags, overnight. I do not react by touching them, so I did not think they would be unsafe. My corn allergy is to processed corn, because it is typically processed with sulfuric acid and I am allergic to sulfites/ sulfur, also have MCS and allergic to gluten. My reaction was not quite my standard sulfite/processed corn reaction as there was no headache with it .. but dizzy, throat going weird, panic, etc. I also felt the twitchy feeling in the nerves in my body like I do when exposed to gluten. I had a look at the bag, mine was not shiny and the plastic actually seemed as thick as usual, I noticed on the bottom of the body that they disclose that the bags are made with polyethylene, dye and ink. the bags themselves have a bit of blue dye added, it seems. I believe these are a bio-plastic version of polyethylene, which can be made from sugar cane, sugar beets, wheat grain (probably corn too, although the article I found did not actually mention corn.)

    1. I have not had an allergic reaction from these bags, HOWEVER, THE TOPS ALL RIP OFF WHEN YOU TRY TO OPEN THEM. Whenyou call them they are always in training and cant take your calls

  2. Ok I just called and they said no corn or wheat, although they do not know what the polyethylene is sourced from and can not say everything that the bags contain as it is proprietary. They did say that my doctor could file paperwork and they would tell him, but both him and I would have to agree to non-disclosure. They did say that any of you reacting should call them too, and report the reaction to their medical department. Now the question is, do we believe them ? Could they be wrong ?

    1. We don’t believe them. 😉 Too many people reacting. It may be a comorbid chemical sensitivity that happens to be common in lots of us but I think it’s corn. I think it’s lubricants or dyes in the zippy part, or maybe a new way that they get the extruded plastic off the machinery after it’s cooled, ie more lubricants. I talked to a guy who patented an oil based lubricant on a much older version of the ziplocks that was in the ziplock part so I know they add stuff at least to that, and then of course there has to be some way to remove the plastic from the machinery it’s made on.

      I am certain that it does not “contain corn” in the sense of them having put corn starch on the machinery, so it’s not that they’re lying. Just many of us have bodies that have attuned to tiny compounds within the corn protein which means that it can be pretty darn broken down and far off from the original vegetable and still get us.

      1. So I think I’ve figured it out, after a day of research and later in the day my daughter broke out two more times!! With no contact with the baggies. But what really made me come up with further research was she went to bed and woke up and the whole side she slept on was broken out with hives. I’ve come to the conclusion she has heat hives. I’m bringing her to the doctor today to confirm. This past week we have had extreme humidity. And it makes sense the first time she broke out really bad we went out and I put her in the car seat and she had hives all down her butt thighs bottoms of her legs everywhere you would sweat if you were sitting in a car sweating and than we had to go elsewhere but we used a diff car seat it happened again not as worse and it was a much shorter trip to the store two seconds down the road and than when she went to bed she slept on her side on a fleece blanket and it wasnt hot hot upstairs cause I had the a.c. on downstairs but she did sweat in her sleep and the whole side she slept on was broken out in hives face and all. The only weird thing is we play outside and she doesn’t break out but she doesn’t sweat when we play outside. Maybe she’s allergic to her own sweat??? Is that a thing???

  3. Thank you for the update. I have kept this post in the back of my mind as I noticed I mistakenly ordered the wrong ziplocs recently and we have been having a series of reactions that I could not pinpoint. I was worried it was my butcher’s meat being contaminated on his end. Now I know it is on my end that I have corntaminated it. I was hoping it was not the ziplocs because I don’t know how else to freeze my meat. I went back on Amazon though and was able to find the double zipper ziplocs that do not have the easy pull tab. I think these are still safe for us. I hope so! Have you tried those ones as well? I am sorry for your reaction. I hope you were able to get the swelling to come down quickly. I am relieved to finally know the likely culprit behind our recent ongoing reactions.

  4. Did you figure out what it was? I have these same ones and I used them to put my daughters chips in when we went out last night and needless to say she had a MAJOR reaction!!!!!! I’ve been using these for months nothing’s happened to me or my husbands just my daughter has reacted. She had hives all over her body, huge blotches, it was hard to bare. I felt so bad. I stayed up all night trying to think what I did differently what could have caused this what I fed her differently and than it hit me this morning, this was the first time I ever gave her a zip lock baggies and I’ve spent hours searching online and this is where it lead me to your post. I wish I could upload pictures to show you how truely bad this was. Thankfully they have gone away after a good hour soaking in the bath and a good nights rest, But I really need to know if this is what caused it and what exactly it is she’s having an allergic reaction to. Please let me know if you have figured anything out, thanks! 🙂

    1. It was definitely the ziplocks that I reacted to, if that’s what you mean. But I don’t know what about them changed/what is in them precisely that we react to, I do know that those of us who don’t tolerate these bags are all allergic to corn. I’m still able to use the “slider” style bags, both storage and freezer, so it’s some process done to these specific bags. I also react to many/most generic plastic bags, just to put that out there.

      I think if your kid has no known food allergies you probably need to do a little more tracking and process of elimination to definitely blame the bags for her reaction. Once you are able to establish that the bags are the cause, understanding WHAT about the bags is the problem is another story.

      I would start tracking her food and reactions including containers. Make sure to also write down her activities and surroundings as well as check pollen counts and air quality index for the day and write that down to rule out airborne issues. Also you can quite simply go without ziplocks for a few weeks and see how she does. In case she is petroleum sensitive, use stainless or glass containers instead of plastic for her food and track whether she continues reacting. I would definitely focus on what containers, foods, or events cause the reaction instead of worrying for now about what specific thing she was reacting to in them. You can avoid an item without knowing why it needs to be avoided and in some situations you may never know why.

      I would also immediately get her to an allergist/immunologist for some testing. Negative tests do not always mean no allergies, and they DEFINITELY don’t mean no reactions because people can have reactions that are not mediated by the allergic immune pathways. But it can be a good first step to narrowing down here issues.

  5. Thank you for posting this. I have a self-diagnosed sulphite sensitivity. I put some cut fruit into a new ziploc back today and had a reaction to the fruit which I didn’t have when I ate it yesterday and before it had been put in a ziploc. I will try the sliding ones that you recommend. Thank you.

    1. If you think of it, I’d love to hear if they work for you. I’m thinking I’m still okay with the slider bags but I’m hearing reports they don’t work for everyone. I am also sensitive to sulfites.

  6. I have also had a bad reaction to the new zip lock quart size . Inflammation and swelling as well as extreme pain. I stopped using them for 2 weeks , problem gone, started reusing and problems returned even worse than before.

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