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  1. Hello,

    Do you know of a cast iron company that is not using seed oils to season? Fo Stargazer I see they use grapeseed, canola, and sunflower oils. For Field I see they use grapeseed oil.

    Thank you!

  2. Hello,
    I appreciate your blogs and have found them to be helpful. I am trying to switch old cookware out for safer options. I was just looking at the Lodge Cast Iron Deep Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 10.25-inch (Black) on Amazon. I scrolled down to see more details and found that the country of origin was China. I thought perhaps this was a mistake but after reading the questions and answers I wonder if it is true. I copied and pasted the Amazon Q&A below. Do you know if all of Lodge products are now manufactured in China?
    Q: Are these made in America???
    A: Hello,
    Thank you for reaching out to us. This product is made in China. Lodge has outsourced many items to keep up with production demands.
    Have a good day
    Customer Service Team
    By Lehman’s Home and Garden on January 11, 2022

    1. Hello, Steven! Thank you for the kind words about our blog! We do not know if all Lodge products are manufactured in China. Have you contacted Lodge directly to ask this question? We encourage that.

  3. I have a question regarding using cast iron cookware. Instructions on care usually say to apply a coat of oil after cleaning a pan. If the pan is used infrequently, the layer of oil becomes ‘gummy’ and possibly has bits of dust etc., clinging to the oil on the surface. I cannot bring myself to cook in these pans without washing them first, which makes me think that cast iron is just too much trouble from a maintenance standpoint. Do you also wash your pans prior to using them again? I’d appreciate your input.

    1. Hello, Joanne! Thank you for the question! This is what we do: to prevent dust from landing on the seasoned surface, we keep cast iron cookware in a pantry or a kitchen cabinet. If your cookware has a lid, you can put it on, too, or use something else to cover the pan. Dark space is also better to prevent the oil from getting rancid and “gummy.” We hope this helps! By the way, friends and readers, the Cast Iron Pots and Pans post has been updated with new info and two new brands – Stargazer and Field Company. So, check it out!

      1. I noticed that Stargazer and Field Company pans are quite a bit more expensive than Lodge pans. Does the finish really make that much difference and are they really much lighter than Lodge? And I find it hard to believe the finish can be so difference with just seasoning. It is important that my pans are safe to eat from them.
        Thank you !

        1. Hi, Julie! Lodge is not a bad choice; however, we believe that Stargazer and Field are better. Lodge uses non-organic vegetable oil for their seasoning, which is not that big of a deal, but if you want to be extra careful, go for organic. In addition, Lodge pans’ surface is not as smooth as that of the other two brands. As for their weight, we haven’t handled the Stargazer and Field pots and pans, but we assume their cast iron is as heavy as any other brand’s.

  4. Hi Irina,

    The lodge cast iron come with vegetable oil coating on it. Is that ok? How can I remove that coating and coat with avacado oil?
    I wasn’t sure if the vegetable oil coating stays forever and will leach into the food. Kindly advise.

  5. Hi Irina,
    Have you tried/tested the Ozeri pans? They utilize GREBLON ceramic – an ultra-safe ceramic coating from Germany which is 100% PTFE, PFOA, APEO, NMP and NEP. I was thinking of getting one. Kindly let me know what you think.


  6. Hi, I purchased the Smith and Clark cast iron pans. After purchasing I noticed they were made in China. I wanted to return them but the packaging was recycled by my family. I’ve tried contacting Tabletopsunlimited to ask about their safety inspections and have heard nothing back from them.

    Do you think this is a safe brand?

  7. I am on a whole food plant based diet, and do not cook with oil. Additionally, my understanding is that men are rarely iron deficient and it can be adverse for them to get too much iron. What do you suggest for a nonstick cooking option? Thanks.

  8. Besides Covid I now have another challenge. To keep busy in times of quarantine, I’ve been restoring old cast iron pots, pans, and skillets. While I understand iron does not contain lead, I believe I may have come across one vintage dutch oven from France that may have some lead. And, it’s a reputable brand (so i thought) that got purchased by Staub. After lots of youtube videos on how to clean, restore and seasoning vintage cast iron I found one video that shows how to test for lead. Bought the kit and did the simple test and result was crushing. I really thought I found a gem! Could cast iron have been contaminated inadvertently somehow? From this same video, I learned that sometimes fishing lead weights were made using old cast iron pots to melt lead and casted in muffin pans (for example) so the advice in the video is to always test vintage cast iron pieces. This dutch oven I got looked unused, in fact no cleaning or restoring was necessary. Long story short, i wonder if you can shed some wisdom on the matter. Im in denial that I have a contaminated vintage piece, but your thoughts would put my mind at ease. Thanks in advance for your two cents!

  9. Hi,
    I live in Germany and here many people use stainless steel cookware. Would that be as a safe alternative just like cast iron?

    Thank you for your answer in advance!

  10. hi

    i read your post about safe cookware with interest.

    i am trying to avoid non stick cookware as it can be toxic so i thought about buying stainless steel but wans’t sure
    if safe and also need non stick as it is a milk pan i am looking for.
    nearly bought green pan but then read you were unsure…

    is cast iron safer than ceramic?

    what is this pre seasoned pans you are talking about ? what does pre season mean?

    do you know of any good quality safe non stick milk pan? i tried to look for lodge but couldn’t find?

    i live in uk so if you could recommend any brand i can find in uk i would ever so much appreciate as i
    switched to 100% grass fed milk but need to heat to a quick boil of 210 f to pasturise…

    thanks so much.

  11. This is an informative article, thank you. I have been a big fan of cast iron but recently I’ve become concerned about seasoning, which is the polymerization of fat. You are essentially turning the fat into a plastic molecule, somewhat similar to PTFE (I think). And, when heated above smoke point, I am concerned that these polymerized fats can release toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. I’ve spent the last several hours scouring the Internet and there doesn’t seem to be a consensus or much information at all. Most people’s opinions are that it’s “it’s probably safe, or if dangerous, not TOO dangerous.” Can you shed any light on this topic? Here I thought I’d found the safest type of cookware, but now I am rethinking it. Thanks for any input you can provide.

    1. Hi, Melanie! Thank you for the question! It is best to use a high smoke point oil for seasoning your cast iron pots and pans. While we use avocado oil, Stargazer uses a blend of grapeseed, canola, and sunflower oils, and Field uses grapeseed oil. We hope this helps! You are always welcome to book a personal healthy living consultation with Irina:

  12. I have read a few of your article, starting with GreenPan. I have sever fibromyalgia and my hands and wrist are very painful. I desperately need sauce pans. Can you recommend any that aren’t too heavy. Right now I have The Rock fry pans. I like them, but recently heard they are bad.
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us.

  13. Hi Irina.

    I have a glasstop electric stove. Do you know if Field Day iron skillets are smooth on the bottom? Thank you so much for the information you provide to the community. You’ve helped me tremendously in the past.

  14. Found a 10” cast iron skillet at Tuesday Morning on sale ($13). It’s by Smith & Clark Ironworks (made in China and a brand of Tabletops Unlimited) It’s preseasoned, no enamel, quite heavy. Another 6”, oil-seasoned one by Sharper Image made in China. Do you think buying a cast iron skillet from brands like these is unadvisable? Is it common for soles brands to have toxic materials in cast iron?

      1. Was worried about cheap brands taking shortcuts and using aluminum. Thanks! You’re site is so helpful!

  15. Lodge’s enameled cast iron Dutch Ovens are now MADE IN CHINA, according to Lodge. So, how do we know how safe and/or durable it is? Low prices don’t help if you eat toxic flakes in your food.

      1. Irina, so many good works! I am proud to report that with seasoning with ½tsp lard (from Targét) after each use (becomes routine), I can fry an egg without sticking! 🥰 I also found that with a 50¢ brush from Walmart and ¼tsp salt, my Lodge pans clean up great! Your Pearl’s of wisdom are spot on!

  16. Thank you Irina but I did not catch your point that why Organic , Non Gmo canola oil is not healthy,
    could you please make me clear ?I know that canola was created through traditional plant cross-breeding by removing two things found in the rapeseed plant: glucosinolates and erucic acid.
    One of concerns about canola is GMO BUT with Non-GMO one still is not healthy to use ?

    Thank you

    1. Not only is Canola unhealthy it’s one of the most mislabeled as “non-GMO” food. Less than 1% grown across the world is organic, let alone non-GMO. Studies have shown at least 5-10% of world’s annual supply is consistently sold as non-GMO.

      While technically true it is considered “traditionally” created, the process which was carried out in a university genetics lab to maximize marketability and profits, is in my opinion much closer to the invasive unnatural GMO processes of today than traditional cross breeding procedure used successfully for hundreds of years.

      Can (Canadian) ola’s (Oil) [clever marketing] biggest use is industrial lubrication and found in the cheapest fry pits of fast food giants for one reason only, it’s the cheapest of the cheap to produce and doesn’t break down easily, it’s no wonder marketing has convinced many of it’s health benefits enabling profit squeeze at the cost of consumers’ health.

  17. Hi Irina
    I want to buy a safe and good quality of cast Iron , do you recommend field company or something better ?

    regarding oils for cooking , I know that avocado oil is best oil for cooking.
    I saw some nutritionist do not recommend canola oil . so I was wondering to know your idea about Organic and non-GMO canola oil ? do you think Organic and Non GMO canola oil in the market is safe to use ?
    THANKS A Lot

    1. Hi, Eli: Yes, Field cast iron cookware is a good option, too. Even organic and non-GMO canola oil is not good for us just because it is not rapeseed is not a good thing to eat. Thank you. ~Irina

  18. Hi Irina,

    Have you had any success with using cast iron to make pancakes? Is there a particular trick to get pancakes to not stick on cast iron? Thanks so much!

  19. hi, Irina
    idk if you are still replying to comments here but i recently switched to using a cast iron, and was wondering about the enamel do they all have that now and is that safe.. also i noticed it dramatically made the colour of my tea and coffee alot darker then before, im assuming that is normal for cast iron? any info or tips you could give me about this would be appreciated, Thanks, susan

  20. So I have been using the avocado oil and I like it! I have it stored in the fridge per directions, but it solidifies in the fridge. Do I let it get to room temp each time I use it or can I just use the liquid stuff that comes out which is all collected on top of the solidified fat in the bottle?

  21. I have cooked on cast iron cookware for 20+ years. This year I decided to buy a unique piece of cast iron for Hubby. It has holes in it to char veggies. Since I like to make fire-roasted salsa, I thought this would be perfect. I ordered the pan (Mr. Bar-B-Q skillet made in China) from Walmart. When the pan came, I noticed it was nicely pre-seasoned so I washed it lightly and seasoned it again. Then I put my skillet on the grill to warm up. The toxic fumes that emanated from the skillet was unbelievable. After a lot of research, I finally decided my cast iron skillet was safe…but not the chemicals they used to season it. I’m sure my cast iron was seasoned with cosmoline to keep it from rusting. It smells just like my rifles. I returned it to Walmart. Stick with USA brands!

  22. Wow, this post has been so interesting to read… I will have to share it with the hubby. Will using olive oil to season it also work or is sunflower or avocado oil best? Wait, I also wanted to ask, what type of utensils to you suggest to use with Cast Iron, Stainless Steel and or Ceramic etc? Going to start looking at where I can get your suggestions in the Middle East, otherwise I will have to improvise….

      1. Thanks for the tip. I picked up some untreated Birch Wood spoons and spatulas, not sure if I should treat them though. Don’t know if the untreated wood would harbour bacteria? Do you use the spatulas you recommend in your Kitchen ebook? Just curious as I know mineral oil should be avoided, although I think treated utensils will probably last longer.

        1. I use untreated wooden spatulas. If you keep them dry, they will be fine. Again, because wood can get fully dry without pockets of moisture, bacteria won’t be able to grow as it needs moisture. ~Irina

      1. There are several organic avo oils available. Please consider that although eating non-organic avo is fine, chemicals like hexane are used in the manufacturing of nearly all food oils and are banned if organically produced/certified.

        1. My understanding is that it’s good to shoot for “USDA Organic” rather than just the generic organic label which can be abused.

          All complicated!

        2. Abs, thanks for noticing that. Yes, a organic USDA organic avocado is available, it’s the only one I’ll consider using. Besides your local healthy food store, there are a couple of choices on Amazon–and even better, try Azure Market (a really find place to do online shopping if they deliver to your town).

  23. Hi, I use my lodge cast iron skillet and I see your recommendation on how to season it after each use. I wanted to know what kind of vegetable oil you use? I can’t seem to find organic vegetable oil. I see you use the organic high heat sunflower oil, do you use that to season the pan and what kind of oil do you use for your cooking? I have the Spectrum expeller-expressed high heat organic canola oil but is that good for cooking? Thank you for all this wealth of non-toxic healthy living choices!

    1. You can use any high heat cooking oil. Sunflower oil is a good one. Recently, I’ve switched to avocado oil as I think it is the healthiest for high heat cooking. We buy it at Costco. ~Irina

      1. I have been doing some research as we just bought a Lodge 2 sided griddle and we own bigger cast iron pots we use to make “potjie” in, a very South African dish made on an open fire… And my husbands pots have a really sticky feel to them from him using vegetable oil previously. We are trying out the Spectrum Sunflower oil now and will also try out the Avocado oil soon, but I read somewhere that it is best to season with lard (which we struggle to get here, like Crisco), or with Flax Seed Oil. The opinion on using Flax Seed is quite mixed at the moment, and I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on it’s safety etc? Also, been seeing a lot of companies have Cast Iron Seasoning Oils or Sticks, but I am scared it might not be safe enough to use as one never knows what goes into it. Is it also wise to bake the cast iron item in the oven for 1 hour after every seasoning, or is that not necessary? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

        1. Cast iron takes a lot of abuse and is very flexible in its use. Traditionally cast iron is seasoned with lard, an animal fat and assuredly not Crisco. If a brand new, unseasoned pan, or a rehab project scrub with soap and water to remove unknown oils and detritus, make sure all rust is removed. Rust can be removed with sandpaper, as well as the occasional manufacturing defect, but be careful not to be too aggressive as to create an uneven surface. Once clean, completely dry by wiping down, coat all the way around with lard or high temp vegetable oil, (avocado works well) and allow to sit in oven for 2 hours at low temp (250f). Recoat/spread about every 1/2 hour. (Expect drips) After initial seasononing plan on using extra fats for a little while and avoid acidic foods.
          After every use clean with plain water, dish soap if absolutely needed, and dish rag, nonmetallic scrubber if needed. Finally recoat food contact surfaces with fat, not thick just glisten, and store for next use. I use avocado oil on a paper towel that I leave in the cast iron and then reuse. I prefer avocado oil as it is non animal, is high temp, low flavor, and does not cause stickiness. I will occasionally cook acidic foods in my cast iron, but will not do so on consecutive uses. If I notice that things are sticking a little I’ll use that as an excuse to fry something with that pan. When storing I place my cast iron on something that I don’t mind absorbing a little oil.
          Cast iron is heavy and takes a while to heat up and cool down. Cast iron can go from stove top to oven. Cast iron is generally not recommended on ceramic/glass cooktops, but I use it on mine. There is concern about scratching plus there may be concern about oil tranferring from the pan to the cooktop.
          You may also get enameled cast iron which is not seasoned and can handle all the marinara sauce and other acidic foods you can throw at it. (Enameling is basically melting glass to cover the surface.) It also supposed to be okay for ceramic cooktops. With enameled be careful of chipping. I only use wood/bamboo utensils to reduce this possibility. I’m also careful not to throw a bunch of cold liquid into the pan as that can be hard on the enameling. Finally some enameled cast iron, have handles that can’t handle the oven. I do not have data on the pigments that are used with enameling.

  24. Hi,

    I have cast iron pans (Cuisinart) that were made in China. Think these are safe to use?

    Also have an enameled cast iron dutch oven gifted to me. It is from the Christmas Tree Shop, which is a bargain store so I am concerned about its safety as well as I have learned it was also made in China.

    Worried about lead contamination…any insight?

    1. Hi, Madelyn: Regardless where they are made, cast iron pans do not contain lead. As for the enameled cast iron dutch iron, you will have to contact the manufacturer. The best way to get a peace of mind is to ask if their products were tested to Prop. 65. ~Irina

      1. This gives me such peace of mind as I just bought an unbranded cast iron pan at a local market the other day and later found it was made in China… hopefully it’s lead free and non toxic as you’ve mentioned 🙂

        1. I ordered an inexpensive set of cast iron cookware, made in China. It has a rough finish, and the black color keeps wiping off. There is a Cadmium emblem stamped on the box. So, I looked up cadmium, and it is a toxic , carcinogenic heavy metal. Most cast iron does not contain this. It also has left a metallic taste in my mouth after frying eggs in it 2 days ago. I am returning it. It is not Lodge brand. It’s something cheaper. So, research before you buy.

    2. Ok thank you!

      Most of our cookware is stainless steel – do you consider this a safe alternative in terms of leavhing lead and other heavy metals?

      I saw that in one of your posts above you mentioned cooking tomatoes and other acidic things in stainless steel and how it causes metals to leach…I’ve been cooking my tomato based things in my stainless steel because I thought cast iron was bad for that type of thing. What do you think? What should I be cooking my tomato based things in?

      Thanks so much! Just feeling very overwhelmed today with all the possibly toxic things out there 🙁

  25. Hi Irina,

    I just switched back to cast iron after my husband finally agreed (he does much of the pan using). We’re loving our Lodge.

    I did want to mention that hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder affecting iron processing that leads to iron overload. People without this disorder can still overload on iron, however.

  26. I have just purchased a cast iron tea kettle and am wondering your thoughts on them as I was planning on using it on top of the fireplace for chai and other tea. Thank you

      1. Thanks Irina, I have never used the tea kettle for tea as it does not even have a name/brand (thanks for your great info by the way!) I got the tea kettle from a vintage local Facebook selling page.. i thought maybe just to use it on the fire top to diffuse essential oils in? but maybe thats emitting toxins into the air too?
        Also I read the comments about oil, I use Coconut oil to cook and to season our cast iron camping oven, i believe it to be able to be heated to the highest temperate without turning toxic.. thanks so much

  27. Thanks for the info!wish i knew this before i soaked my cast iron pan after pan frying fish. It rusted. Any way to get rid of the rust or is it best to dispose of it?

    1. Hi Fatima: I do not know how severe the rust is but I believe you can get rid of the rust. You can scrub it with something like a nylon sponge, wipe it, and season it. Let me know.

  28. Irina, thank you for not giving up on my “frying eggs” dilemma! 🙂 I have Emeril’s iron cast pan, but I haven’t had such luck with it, maybe I don’t warm it up long enough. I also don’t like the black smudges it leaves on the food I make. Is it normal? Thank you!

    1. Yes – it is important to warm up the pan first. Try it and let me know if you are more successful. I don’t think it should leave black smudges… I am not sure what it is. Anybody? Do you season it the way I recommended in the post?

    2. The seasoning on your pan is most likely flaking. You are probably not seasoning it correctly. What I like to do when I buy a new cast iron pot/pan, is to throw it in my ovens self clean cycle which will strip all that crappy factory “seasoning” off. You will completely start fresh, a great oil to use as a base is flax seed oil, I would do research about which flax seed oil to use, but usually after the first 5 coats, I use avocado oil after every time I cook.

  29. thanks for the all the great information, I recently got rid of all my non-stick cookware and have been searching for an alternative, eggs is our biggest challenge. I will get a cast iron to pan now that I know they do well with eggs.

  30. I LOVE my cast iron pan! I switched to it for cooking most things a year or more ago, and haven’t looked back! I even bought cast iron muffin pans (on Amazon) and love those as well, as I am trying to move away from other non-stick cooking items! You do need to season them, but since muffins stick on my “non-stick” muffin pans anyway I figured it couldn’t be worse, and it’s very easy to clean up any bits left behind (I typically do not use muffin liners as I find they stick to some of my muffins).

    1. We did the same thing after finding out about Teflon non stick cooking but read this article because I just watched a talk about Althiemers and heavy metal build up in brain. They mentioned cast iron cooking, to limit use to once a month. I’m going to get my iron levels checked. But of course may alternate between steel for acidic foods or long cooking stews. Eggs and meals that are grilled may be cast iron. It sucks because we are addicted to using this ware.

  31. Thank you for all the information sharing that you do. I only use old cast iron pans that I fond in antique type stores. I have never trusted the Lodge “pre-seasoned” coating. It is bumpy and actually makes my things stick to them. I do not know what the pre seasoning is made from. My old pans are great as long as I use them for making eggs or sautéing. I do not use them for acidic things or making sauces – stainless steel for those. Also, along the lines of cookware, I have spent many years looking for a stainless steel tea kettle, inside and out, NOT made in China. Even the big stainless names that make their stuff in US import tea kettles from China. If you are able to locate a stainless kettle with a whistle not made in China, I would SOOO appreciate it. I just use a pot to heat my water right now.

    1. Yeah… It might not exist. Most of stainless products are made in China. Even All-Clad makes their stainless steel kettles in China now. I use a ceramic kettle now instead, which I like but my husband hates.

      1. Irina, have you tried the Simplex Tea kettles? They are solid copper with chrome finish over, still hand made in England.

        1. No, I have not. I believe copper without finish is toxic. I have not looked in-depth into chrome finish yet but I know there are some concerns… Thank you for the suggestion.

          1. I’d love to hear about Simplex Tea kettles, as I have one…
            Also – what waffle maker do you use?? I’ve been trying to find one to replace my non-stick one. The only option so far is an old-fashioned cast iron with no timer that goes on the stove top and that you need to turn to cook both sides. I’m hoping there’s a good modern version out there! Thank you!!

          2. Hmm… This is a really good question about a waffle maker. We do not make waffles so I did not think of that. Is there anybody else who is also interested in a safe waffle maker? Are the Simplex tea kettles made with copper? Copper can be toxic so normally it is lined with stainless steel. Is it the case with Simplex tea kettles? Thank you, Julia! ~Irina

  32. My cast iron was scrubbed with a stainless steel scrub pad – does that mean it now leaches “extra” iron?

      1. Thank you for the information. Cast iron pans are too heavy for me. What do you think of carbon steel? I’m currently using hard anodized and would like to switch to something healthier. Thank you for your advice.

        1. Hi, Ping: carbon steel is safe but the problem is that it is very hard to find it without coating that has PFAS chemicals. Anodized cookware may have it too. You have to check with the manufacturer and ideally it would be great to see test reports showing the absence of them. ~Irina