Safely Operating Your Microwave

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 17,162
    Microwave expert Sue Snider discusses how to safely operate a microwave.

    Sue Snider: I am Sue Snider, University of Delaware, department of Animal and Food Sciences. We are talking about properly preparing food in the microwave oven and now we are going to talk about safe operating procedures and basically, we are talking about safe operating procedures from the standpoint of microwave leakage and preventing fires, electrical hazards. The first thing that you need to do when you get a new microwave is to read the instructions. I know if you are like me, you get all excited, you want to plug it up and start microwaving. Well, this is one appliance that you really do need to sit down and read the instruction manual because there is a lot of information on this particular model, how it operates and a lot of safety information. Now once you have the microwave and it is operating, one of the concerns that some people have is microwaves leakage. FDA has a number of safety features that they require manufacturers to have. One of these safety features is two interlocking systems, so that the microwave does not operate when the microwave door is open. If damage occurs to any one of these systems, the microwave will not operate. Now when you open the door, you may hear the fan running, thats not the microwaves. Microwaves have been set off, shut off completely. One of the things you need to do is to keep your microwave in good operating order and one of the things you need to do is to inspect your microwave occasionally. You want to make sure that the seal is not damaged in any way, you want to make sure that you keep it clean because if theres damage or any kind of food on this seal, you can get microwave leakage. In addition, there has been some report that damage can occur, leakage can occur if there is damage to the this front screen and as you look at it in your microwave, you think, Well, why arent the microwaves escaping? This has been designed specifically so that doesnt happen and if it becomes scratched or damaged in any way, you can get a leakage. Now to test for microwave leakage you really need to contact the manufacturer or contact with a reputable servicing group that will service the microwave or you can contact your local health department and they maybe able to test for leakage. FDA warns against using the microwave devices that you can find in the market to test leakage. These are very unreliable and maybe telling you that this microwave is dangerous when in fact, it's not or that it's safe when in fact, you do have a leakage. The other thing in terms of using the microwave, you want to be very careful about what you put in the microwave. Metals reflect microwaves and so you dont want to operate your microwave oven empty because you can damage the magnetron if you operate it empty. We have talked about safe operation of your microwave oven, testing for a leakage and why it is important. Next, we are going to talk about the appropriate containers to use to cook your food in the microwave.