State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600817
Galvanizing is the process of electrolytically coating
iron metal with zinc, which protects the iron from rusting.
Zinc is one of several heavy metals which can be toxic if
consumed in large quantities. When acid foods (fruit
juices, tomatoes, pickles) are placed in galvanized utensils
of when meats or vegetables are cooked in galvanized
containers, toxic amounts of zinc can brought into solution.
Numerous reports of zinc poisoning can be found in the
public health and medical literature, and essentially all of
them relate the illness to the type of utensils used in food
preservation. Symptoms of zinc toxicity are fever, nausea,
vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea in three to twelve
hours following ingestion.
Galvanized utensils (some types of old refrigerator
shelves for outdoor grilling, galvanized trash cans for
quantity cooking, etc.) should never be used for food
preparation or preservation.