Plastic taste of the chicken

I cooked organic chicken thighs at 129 for 8 hrs in food saver vacuum bags. It turned out juicy and tender and overall good, but it had a hint of plastic taste in it. The taste was similar to the plastic smell of the container I cooked it in. It happened at least twice. I and my daughter noticed it quite definitely, other people not so much, so it’s not that strong. I cooked in a plastic container, that I bought on Amazon as a Sous Vide accessory. I am wondering if anybody had the same experience? Now I am wondering is it safe to cook this way.

Not had the problem. I cook my chick in silicon Stasher bags usually.

But if the chicken is tasting of plastic, I’d point the finger at your vacuum bags rather than the container.


I was looking at those silicon bags, but couldn’t decide which one to buy. Which ones do you use? Are they seal airtight?

I also haven’t had that issue and I echo @Ember. It may have been your bags.

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I’ve used both FoodSaver brand and an “after market” brand of bags to bag up and cook - and I’ve had no plastic taste or odor after cooking. The FoodSaver bags are 5 layers of polyethylene with an outer layer of nylon, and I checked with the company I purchased the after market brand bags from prior to my purchase and ensured they are the same.
If you are concerned with the safety of cooking in plastic bags you won’t find any considered more safe than polyethylene. They did some extensive testing on polyethylene prior to pronouncing it safe. Are you perhaps using some after market bag material that maybe isn’t polyethylene? That’s the only thing I can think of that might cause a plastic taste or smell in the food.

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I used FoodSaver’s bags from costco. Could it be the Rubbermaid container? The smell of it after cooking is strangely similar to the plastic taste of chicken

Do you have a link for the Rubbermaid container? If it’s not a food grade container, but just a regular storage container, it could actually leach chemicals into your vessel’s water.

The bags are designed to contain your food and keep the water out - but they may be susceptible to smaller particles permeating. (heh…they’re not a Hazmat suit) :slight_smile:

Let’s see what information is posted about the container (if you have a link).

Also possible that it could simply be a bad batch of the container, off-gassing chemicals as there was a defect in the finishing process. Luckily Amazon is VERY good about returns and exchanges!!!

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There are numerous different varieties of ‘Food Saver’ bag and roll, with different numbers of plastic layers and compositions. I buy my rolls from eBay and have never yet had one that was permeable enough to allow smells through.

I use the smallest size Stasher bag for chicken bits. They work well. It takes a while to get used to getting the air out, but once you do they work well.

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Is it possible that the chicken was contained in an inappropriate plastic wrapping/container when, or before, you purchased it? Bit of a long shot, but you never know…

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Just a quick thought;

  1. Do you have a soup pot or Dutch oven? Try cooking the next batch in the soup pot. If there is no off taste from the cook, then try 1 piece of chicken in your container. If the container cooked chicken is still ‘off’, then there is your answer.

  2. According to Kenji Lopez-Alt, (, the best results for chicken are:
    chicken breast at 140-145 F,
    chicken leg (thigh or drum) at 165 F.
    The difference is texture & mouth feel.
    Just to be safe, I would not do a cook under 132 F. Depending on the calibration of your cooker, and temp fluctuations from the environment, 129 F is just too close to the bacterial growth borderline for me.

Enjoy the chicken!


Yes, thank you. I’ll definitely do this experiment and report back to community.
For how long do you recommend to cook at those temperatures? I cook at 129- 130 for at least 8 hours or more. Is it still not safe?

Very unlikely, because it happened 2-3 times with different butches of chicken.

Here is the container i use:
Is it food grade? It sold like it.

That container should be perfect.

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-Cooking chicken breast at 145 or chicken leg pieces at 165 F should take about 2 hours when you start with cold chicken. Ideal is 2-4 hours.
-You can leave the chicken in the waterbath for much longer with only small texture changes, so if you want to cook for 8 hours go ahead, just make sure to cover the container opening to prevent water loss.

—-I do not think 129 F is safe for meats! Lowest temperature should be 132F, (see my first post).

For 2-4 hours
-At 132F chicken is quite firm and a little tough but very juicy.
-At 145 (breast) or 165 (leg), the chicken is very tender and juicy.
For 8-12 hours
The chicken pieces loose a little more moisture and become slightly softer but not enough to choose 8 hours.
If you cook chicken for 8 hours because you go to work,you can continue this. Please do not cook cut beef or pork for 8 hours.

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129F is safe. It just doesn’t leave much room for equipment vagaries. Pasteurisation can actually be undertaken as low as 126F but it is not recommended.

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The “tipping point” is actually 127F for most pathogens to start to die off. (dig around enough on here, you’ll find links to papers that have been done). Everyone uses 130F as a margin for error - plus, there are some pathogens that will survive higher temps - so best not to cook below 130F for more than 2 hours to minimize any potential for growth.


Yep, that’s food grade polycarbonate. The same material many are using for their sous vide vessels.

You should be able to detect if the container is giving off a definite plastic odour from the water in it. If it’s strong enough to taint your food, it should certainly be strong enough to smell. If there’s no odour, then I’d be more inclined to look at the bags or check the chicken for any off odours pre-cook next time.

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Thank you I’ll try your recommendations!

Ok, good to know, so I wasn’t completely wrong? I keep getting controversial opinions about it. I was told that longer time at low temperature makes the chicken softer and juicier Is that right?