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.

ziploc

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.

Corn Free Household and Cleaning Products

I am ashamed to say that I don’t clean that much. I should. I want to. I don’t like being filthy but remembering to do basic chores has never been my strong suit, even before allergy life.  I kept an okay house during my calmer times but any time I got in the least bit busy, the the dishes and laundry would pile up apallingly high before I did anything about them. Then my food allergies went out of control and I started having to spend a ton of time cooking, researching, and sourcing safe food on top of my full-time-and-then-some job.  So yeah, lately I don’t clean too much. Fortunately my wonderful boyfriend puts up with it and (usually) good-naturedly does way more than his fair share. Then every few months I go crazy cleaning All The Things to make up for my general slovenliness. Well, maybe it’s been more than a few by this point.

But here are the products that get used when cleaning happens.

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Corn Free Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

So far I have not found a completely corn-free automatic dishwasher detergent. The corn-litest of them at least contain citric acid from corn. The citric acid does seem to rinse off pretty well, and many people can and do get away with using detergent that contains it. I just got tired of looking at my dishes funny and feeling like I needed to hand wash them again before I used them.

This recipe is based on a common recipe on various frugal living and natural beauty type blogs. The main difference is that those recipes also call for citric acid. I did do some searching to try to find a corn-free version of citric acid powder. It does exist, however it was an industrial supplier and I highly doubt that they’d fill orders for small quantities. I never called to really find that out though. I just gave up and found a safe-enough-for-me lemon juice, the ingredients of which are only lemons. Lemons naturally contain citric acid. The idea to just use lemon juice came from Meg from the Facebook Corn Allergy & Intolerance group.

Anyway, here’s what I arrived upon:

Homemade Corn-free Dishwasher Detergent

Dry Ingredients
2 cup borax
2 cup washing soda
1 cup kosher salt (for scrubbing action)

Keep separately
Santa Cruz Pure Lemon Juice

Mix together dry ingredients and put into a jar or pitcher for storage.

When it’s time to run the dishwasher, add 3 tbsp of the dry powder to the detergent bin, and then add about 1-2 tbsp lemon juice in with the dry powder. Fill the rinse aid compartment with safe-for-you vinegar (I use homemade kombucha vinegar.)  I also liberally splash vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher as a rinse aid/descaler. I run my dishes on the “heavy wash” cycle every single time because it just makes me feel more confident that it’s removing any corny residue from my boyfriend’s food or just the general ambient corn of my workplace.

If you find that your dishes have a white film on them after washing, splash vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher before running, as well. This stuff works as well for me as the corny dish detergents I was previously using, and even better than some of them. It works *way* better than the Trader Joe’s dishwasher detergent, and it does not leave a white film on my dishes except for on rare occasion when I place things in the dishwasher poorly and they don’t get rinsed well.

However others who have tried this recipe report that it doesn’t work- the dishes stay dirty, the white film is impossible to get rid of, etc. No idea. It works for me.

Product notes

Lemon juice: I personally wouldn’t drink the Santa Cruz lemon juice. I think it’s on the safe list and the ingredients look safe, I just don’t trust juices. But I’m fine with using it in the dish washer.

Washing soda: This is *not* the same as baking soda. Baking soda is sodium bi-carbonate, and washing soda is sodium carbonate. You can buy washing soda from the laundry section of your local grocery store, but you can also just make baking soda into washing soda by heating it up.

Borax: I use 20 Mule team, from the grocery store. There are some concerns about the safety of using borax to wash your dishes, since borax isn’t edible. I would highly encourage you to read a few articles and blog posts about the safety of it. I read a bit, and came to the same conclusion as Crunchy Betty: It’s safe enough for me.   Please do your own research and make your own decisions.

Kosher Salt: I use Diamond Crystal brand.