Just received my sous vide and wanted to try cooking duck breasts. They come in a vacuum package already. Can I cook them in the original vacuum packaging?
I read a thread on the internet where someone asked Trader Joes if their vacuum packed pre-marinated meats were sous vide safe, and they said “no”. They could neither confirm nor deny that the plastic would hold up under heat, so I think it’s best to assume you shouldn’t.
While waiting for my cooker to arrive I have started doing research on the safety of cooking in plastic. It gets very complicated and there is a lot of information that is posted that IMO never really answers the question. Bottom line for me is that we simply don’t know the risk. Science cannot tell you no risk exists since there are so many factors involved it can only help you speculate on the level of risk. That appears to be low. Non-toxic is not the same as low or non-risk. I am old and choose not to worry about it. With kids I might think differently (as I am a retired pediatrician). Here is a good reference that may help.
I have done short (2 hr) fairly low temperature (130° F) cooks in the original vacuum sealed bag with no ill effects. One thing that I did learn by experience is that if there are any labels they must be removed. If you don’t the circulating water will remove them and it makes a sticky mess to clean up.
One of my local supermarkets sells meat packaged for sous vide. Unfortunately it is very very expensive. Not saying that they are 100% safe as nothing is.
IMO there is a far greater danger to eating at a restaurant, a friends place, a community supper a bbq or even at your mother's place. You often have no idea/control over whether/when the food was properly cooked, stored, cross contamination or if they regularly wash their hands. Never mind the use of plastics/ non-stick or aluminum and I for one would never dream of asking. I just man up and chow down.
While I am interested in the topic and do my best to cook responsibly I refuse to obsess about it. Too many foods I enjoy that I would have to stop eating and too many places to eat I would be unwelcome at if I did that.