Letter Re: Food Items in Non-Food Grade Buckets?

Hi Jim,
I’m an avid reader of your blog but I have a question: Can I store vacuum sealed wheat in regular buckets (not food grade)? I like the idea of having 10 lb bags of vacuum sealed wheat for simplicity in retrieving when needed and for distributing as charity if needed. I realize it wastes space in each bucket (being in a vacuum sealed block) – but my question is whether it’s safe to use the less expensive buckets or will potential out-gassing eat the vacuum sealed bags?

Your books (I have all of them) are very helpful to me. Between my father and I, we’ve probably bought several dozen copies of “Patriots” over the past five years to give to people. I have my 20 acres in one of your recommended areas and will break ground in the spring for the retreat. I just hope I have enough time to prepare as it seems things are moving fast.

Also, how do you store other consumables? Metal wall lockers (as in “Patriots“)? Is there a more mobile solution I can use for the time being until I get my retreat built?
Thanks for all you do. – Rob S.

JWR Replies: I’m not a food safety chemist, so I can’t give you a definitive answer. As discussed in SurvivalBlog previously, the issue is the toxic injection molding release compounds used in making some buckets that are not marked as NSF, USDA or “Food Grade” certified. These mold release chemicals can contaminate food. My advice is to err or the side of caution and to use your utility-grade buckets for storing non-food items (ammo, clothing, field gear, etc.), and only certified food grade buckets, for food. Even if food items are in a sealed food grade plastic package, you never know when the integrity of that inner packaging might be compromised with pinholes.

Most of my consumables that won’t fit in our kitchen, pantry, and laundry room cupboards(Castile soap, cleansers bandages, paper products, etc.) and most of my field gear items are stored in big green plastic Rubbermaid Roughneck storage bins with snap lids. They are great for “grab-‘n-go” situations. Just keep in mind that a determined rat, given enough time will be able to chew a hole through these containers. They are fairly expensive if bought new in stores, and expensive to ship if bought via mail order, so watch and wait for them to be offered at a sale price. BTW, you might also try placing a local “Wanted” ad on Craig’s List.