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Fact check: Eggs should not be boiled in the microwave wrapped in aluminum foil

More than 14,000 social media users have been sharing a post which advises people to wrap eggs in aluminum foil before putting them in the microwave to boil them. However, it is dangerous to put foil in a microwave as it will spark and could cause a fire. Hard-boiled eggs should also not be reheated in a microwave as they will likely explode.

Various models of microwaves sit in a testing room at the Nestle Development Center in Solon, Ohio, U.S., April 24, 2018. Picture taken April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk

The posts (here  ,  here  ,  here) show two pictures, one of hard-boiled eggs and the other of eggs wrapped in foil with the caption “Tip: wrap your eggs in aluminum foil and microwave for 2 minutes, wayyy quicker!” 

Comments and captions show that while some people recognise this would be dangerous (“Everybody know you don’t put aluminum foil in the microwave”; “Hope these people don’t actually fall for this”; “People nobody do this”), others are potentially taking the advice seriously or are unsure whether to take it seriously or not: “Can you really put aluminum in micro????”; “Doing it as we speak”; “Hmm… won’t the foil blow up in the microwave?”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) explains on its website that “no food completely covered in foil or in a covered metal pan should be put in a microwave oven because food won’t be able to absorb the microwaves. Operating the oven empty or when the food is completely wrapped in aluminum foil can cause damage to the oven and the food won’t heat” (here). The FDA reiterates that food completely covered in aluminum foil should not be put in the microwave here  .  

The electric fields in microwaves cause charges to flow through metal. Thin pieces of metal like aluminum foil are overwhelmed by these currents, causing them to heat up so quickly that they can ignite. If the foil has sharp edges or crinkles the currents can form sparks, which can also start a fire (here  ,  here  ,  here). 

Videos of what happens if you put aluminum foil in the microwave can be seen here and here  . 

Hard-boiled eggs that have been reheated in the microwave can explode when they are pricked or someone bites into them (here  ,  here  ,  here). There is no scientific consensus as to why this happens.  

Examples of this occurring can be seen in videos here  and here  . 

Advice on how to use a microwave to cook eggs does not feature the use of aluminum foil and can be seen here and here . Pricking a small hole in the egg to avoid it exploding is advised.  

VERDICT

False. Aluminum foil should not be put in the microwave as it can cause a fire, and hardboiled eggs should not be reheated in the microwave as they will likely explode.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .

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