Q:

Should an electric griddle always have Teflon coating?

A:

Quick Answer

An electric griddle should have Teflon if it requires a nonstick coating and is never used above 500 degrees Fahrenheit. At higher temperatures, Teflon can exude toxic fumes, but since a griddle is not typically used above 500 degrees Fahrenheit, Teflon is suitable for all griddles.

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Full Answer

Teflon, which is made from polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, is a substance used to coat cooking surfaces to prevent food from sticking to them. Teflon does this very well, but concerns arose about the dangerous fumes that Teflon gives off when heated. These fumes can be very dangerous when inhaled, causing death in birds and flu-like symptoms in humans.

However, these toxic fumes are only given off if the Teflon is heated higher than 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and it is otherwise safe to use. The normal range for frying or searing meat, the primary function of an electric griddle, is between 400 and 470 degrees Fahrenheit, which is below this dangerous threshold. Common cooking practices that exceed this temperature include broiling, which should never be done with Teflon products.

The Environmental Protection Agency considers Teflon to be safe when used properly, and it rejected a petition to require hazard labels on products with a Teflon coating. For most electric griddles use, it is safe to use.

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