Lately I have heard a lot of discussion about food grade plastic buckets. There seems to be a feeling among many people that any bucket marked with the recycling number 1, PETE or PET are food grade. This is erroneous. The determining factors include the various chemicals used to release the buckets from the molds and the type of coloring.
Another thing that I have often heard is that it doesn’t matter if they are food grade if you use mylar bags. The problem with this is that you never know what you may have to use those buckets for in the future. They could be used for anything from carrying water to pickling or salting meat. I want my family to have the best possible chance so I only use food grade buckets. If you go to your local bakeries you can probably get them for nothing. I have also purchased food grade buckets from my local Winco. The Home Depot buckets that I have encountered are not food grade.
Only buckets having a gasket in the lid seals should be used to store food. This is to keep bugs out.
An important fact to understand is that most plastic is permeable; in other words, it breathes. Unless lined with Mylar bags you cannot count on plastic buckets to protect food from oxygen. Do not store food in plastic bags or buckets near gasoline, kerosene or other chemicals – they may pick up the taste and odor.
For many years, wheat, rice and beans have been stored in plastic buckets without mylar bags. Based on the observation of others and myself, I feel this method works. I have used wheat stored this way that is 20 years old. Based, on recent tests, wheat, rice and beans stored only in plastic buckets, while edible are probably not as nutritious as those stored in Mylar bags or metal cans and protected from oxygen. All my new grains and legumes are now stored in #10 cans with oxygen absorbers.
If you have grains that have been stored for many years in plastic buckets without mylar bags, do not get rid of it. It is still quite eatable and will provide calories and some nutrition.