Debra Lynn Dadd

Magnetically-attractive stainless steel cookware

QUESTION:

I recently read your letters concerning cookware and I have a question:

My understanding is that All Clad's magnetically-attractive Stainless Steel cookware is the safest choice for stainless steel. 

What is your opinion, please?

Thank you!

Sincerely,
Sandy

POSTED BY SANDY :: NORTH CAROLINA USA :: 05/21/2007 7:57 AM


DEBRA'S ANSWER:

First of all, All Clad cookware has magnetic stainless steel on the OUTSIDE of the pan, not on the inside where it would come in contact with the food. So it has no relationship to food safety at all.

Why magnetic steel on the exterior? According to a review of All Clad at Epinions.com (which also states that All Clad takes longer to heat, requiring greater energy consumption), the exterior magnetic layer is there to allow these pans to be used on Induction cooktops. Because induction uses magnetic fields to heat the pan, not heat, specific types of cookware that work with the magnetic fields are needed--magnetic stainless steel, cast iron, and steel covered in enamel or porcelain. Glass, aluminum, copper, and non-magnetic steel will not work on induction cooktops. If you are not using induction, however, there is no reason to purchase magnetic steel cookware.

An article by Dr. Ray Peat, a biochemist. He says:

There are two main types of stainless steel, magnetic and nonmagnetic. The nonmagnetic form has a very high nickel content, and nickel is allergenic and carcinogenic. It is much more toxic than iron or aluminum. You can use a little "refrigerator magnet" to test your pans. The magnet will stick firmly to the safer type of pan.
I checked around a few website to verify this idea that magnetic stainless steel contains less nickel than nonmagnetic, and indeed, it is true.

At http://www.azom.com/details.asp?ArticleID=1140 they say:
Magnetic permeability is the ability of a material to carry magnetism, indicated by the degree to which it is attracted to a magnet. All stainless steels, with the exception of the austenitic group [see below], are strongly attracted to a magnet.


All austenitic grades ...show almost no response to a magnet...
In general, the higher the nickel to chromium ratio the more stable is the austenitic structure and the less magnetic response.

Austenitic (nonmagnetic) stainless steels comprise over 70% of total stainless steel production. They contain a maximum of 0.15% carbon, a minimum of 16% chromium and sufficient nickel and/or manganese to retain their austenitic structure. 18/10 stainless is 18% chromium and 10% nickel. 18/0 and 18/8 is also available. So yes, you would want to look for a "18/0" for a nickel-free stainless steel, but it would still contain chromium, also a toxic metal.

High nickel austenitics are much more resistant to Stress Corrosion Cracking, so this may be why they are used. It may be that the stainless steels without nickel are of inferior quality and less durable.

So, it appears that you can use a magnet to test the amount of nickel in a stainless steel pan and the ones that are more magnetic have less nickel.

I took a magnet off my refrigerator and tested the stainless steel pans I have and they were all nonmagnetic. Then I went to Macy's and tested all the stainless steel pans for sale there and they were all nonmagnetic.

Readers, do any of you know of a stainless steel pan with 18/0 steel on the INSIDE? If so, please POST A COMMENT with the information on brand and where to buy it.


Debra :-)


COMMENTS:

Thank you for checking into the stainless steel cookware. I did not know that is was not fully magnetically attracted inside & out! I will reconsider my choice before purchasing.

1- I went back to one site and looked at Dr. Mercola\'s recommendation for cookware. He recommends enameled cast iron cookware, but he said not all cast iron is alike! Some companies will try to sneak in non-stick fluoride and other coating in their cookware. I did not know this either.

It may be good to check on this and see if the cast iron cookware you are recommending is free of these additional coatings.

http://www.mercola.com/products/cast-iron-cookware

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: I went and looked at Dr.Mercola's website and it looks to me like the enamel is on the outside of the pots and pans and the inside which touches the food is just your standard cast iron. Being the simple woman I am, why pay more for the enamel finish when a plain old-fashioned cast iron pot will cook just as well?


POSTED BY SANDY :: NORTH CAROLINA USA :: 06/12/2007 5:47 PM


Hi there, I am fascinated by this discussion as I have always thought that Stainless was the 'best' cookware....I now have tested my All Clad and the person is right, it is magnetic on the outside only. However, I did test my Revere Ware (the older one with 1810 stamped on the bottom) and that passes the magnet test on the insdie and out (to the person who asked!) You can get this on ebay or in antique stores, to my knowledge. It makes me now wonder about my Le Creuset set....does that pass the 'snuff' test for no toxic leaching??? Please respond if you have any info about this...I notice Mercola doesn't talk about it, but offers his own solution/brand...

POSTED BY ELIZABETH :: WWW.DOLPHINLEADERSIHP.COM :: WWW.DOLPHINLEADERSHIP.COM :: NORTH CAROLINA USA :: 09/27/2007 8:23 AM


I got the impression from the Dr. Mercola site that the enameled cookware he sells is enameled on the interior. The fry pan just has a "matte finish". Quote from the site: "This beautiful cast iron cookware comes with a beautiful color glossy exterior in three color choices, and a black enameled interior finish."
I also found a type of stainless steel enameled cookware from Germany (that is enameled on the interior) that looks prettier: Chantal. I like the glass lids.

POSTED BY LBK :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 10/02/2007 9:48 AM


I did some searching and found this line from Germany that is nickel free. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this one, and if it's a good option.

www.silit.de/englisch/know_how/e30.asp?NV_ID=59

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: I read the website pretty thoroughly and while the nickel-free steel/cermic material sounds good, it says only that it has a "no-stick finish" without specifying what it is. The material of the pan is not interently non-stick, it has an added finish.


POSTED BY CEK :: NEW HAMPSHIRE USA :: 10/12/2007 8:02 AM


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