Boiled 'do not eat' packet - Is the food still safe to eat? NEED ANSWER FAST

OK, just going by the title this probably sounds like the dumbest OP ever, but bear with me.

A friend and I are cooking soba (noodles). He accidentally left in the ‘do not eat’ packet in the boiling water for a few minutes. He picked it out before inserting the noodles. It was sealed. He thinks we’re fine and said ‘the only reason they tell you not to eat them is because they absorb water from your body.’

While I don’t know if I believe that last bit, he tends to be right about scientific things, and I mean, it WAS sealed. I think the food should be safe.

Anyway, dinner should be ready in ten minutes or so, and I’m damn hungry.

Well, food’s ready. After a warning, my friend has dug in. It’s been a few minutes and he’s not dead yet. Bon appetit.

I probably should not have put caps in the thread title, as it’s not really urgent anymore. Sorry.

Right. If the packet was that dangerous, they wouldn’t be able to justify putting it in the food in the first place. People know about personal injury attorneys now. That makes a difference in the cost calculations.

Also, I applaud you and your friend for advancing human knowledge in the finest spirit of GQ, and we promise to retire your username if this goes south after all.

No, it won’t hurt. The ‘Do Not Eat’ packets just contain some silica gel (food grade when in food products) which is a desiccant and removes any moisture left over from packaging the product. It is included since it is very inexpensive, lessens the chance of food spoilage, and keeps packaged goods tasting fresher.

I wouldn’t advise eating it, but it isn’t harmful in any reactive way. It is non-toxic, non-flammable, and non-reactive (chemically) in a normal environment.

heh. A comedian on TV here once made the point that if a person is intelligent enough to read what’s written on the package, they’re likely intelligent enough to know not to eat it.

But boiling it? No plobrem! Yeah, I would’ve eaten the soba too.

If you eat the silica gel, it’ll still suck up moisture from your body. Not nearly enough to instantly mummify you, but enough to irritate your stomach. But otherwise it’s not hazardous at all. If you boil silica gel it will absorb a lot of water, and probably be saturated before long, so it can no longer absorb any more water. So I’d guess there is no hazard from boiled silica gel, especially if you don’t actually eat the beads.

Sometimes, it’s not silica gel, but iron filings (to absorb oxygen, rather than moisture). Assuming the sachet is intact in either case, it should be OK. These things aren’t toxic, but they can be mechanically problematic if you eat them.

Kramer dropped some in some salsa at that store, the woman ate some and they had to call Poison Control, only Jerry was on the Poison Control speed dial!

I’d have no problem eating anything after the bag was removed in tact. However, some of those desiccant bags contain pieces that are very sharp, hard and jagged. I guess this increases the surface area for absorption. I don’t know that they dissolve easily. Someone might break a tooth or cut something internally if simply ingested.

Although not toxic, a strong desiccant is not something that you want to ingest in quantity. There was a scene in the TV show Jackass where someone was dared to eat two teaspoons of flour. It was never aired because it dried his throat so much he almost asphyxiated!

But like I said two teaspoons is way more than those silica packs contain. And if you put it in water, even boiling water, its desiccant properties are essentially rendered inert…

What about the pack? Would heat release carcinogens from the plastic etc.?

He couldn’t have dumped out the water and boiled fresh water just in case?

I think they say “DO NOT EAT” because they look so much like salt or sugar packets.