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Sep 3, 2009 07:56 PM

Earth Pan vs Cuisinart Green Gourmet vs Starfrit ?

I would like to buy a non PTFE, non PFOA nonstick pan. Even if its unclear how harmful the older types of non stick are, I need to replace my non stick . Does anyone have any experience with any of these? Is food sticking really an issue with all of these? Any preference? Thanks

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  1. You can double check this, but I think PFOA was an ingredient used by Dupont in the process of making PTFE, but not part of the final product. Also, most non-stick pans use some form of PTFE, with main variation being in how it is bonded to the metal. If food doesn't stick to PTFE, how does PTFE stick to metal?

    It is possible that chemists have come up with alternatives to PTFE, but it is also likely that they have similar chemical compositions and characteristics. After all you want some of the same physical properties - nonstick, durable enough to withstand use, inert to cooking liquids, non toxic, etc. Read the fine print. Many companies talk about how superior their coating is, with diamonds and special bonding, but soon or latter you'll find a line in a FAQ admitting that the nonstick coating is indeed PTFE, or they might use the term 'advanced polymer'.

    If after 50 years, if it isn't obvious whether PTFE is harmful or not, how are we to know whether any of the replacements are any better? Have they been put through more rigorous testing? Been subject to longer term toxicology tests?

    If you don't know what you are running away from, it is hard to choose a truly
    safe destination.

    1 Reply
    1. re: paulj

      I glanced at web sites (mostly retailers and eco-reviewers) for these products. They all talk about ceramics. There is some plausibility to this. I have several inexpensive glazed ceramic pots that are relatively non-stick. Enameled cook ware, whether expensive 'French ovens' or dirt cheap steel, are also low stick. So maybe chemists have come up with ceramic formulations that adhere well to aluminum, and a lower-stick surface (smoother?) than older versions.

      But I am also wary of talking points like 'no chemicals' (isn't a ceramic a chemical), 100% petroleum free, 100% natural. One manufacturer admitted a reviewer that the use of 'nanotechnology' in their promotional material was a mistake by an over enthusiastic copywriter.

    2. For years there has been an ongoing argument about PTFE (Teflon) and its potentially detrimental effects on human health and the earth. PFOA chemical is used when processing Teflon; 90% of the chemical is released into the atmosphere during the coating process. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has given companies using PFOA until 2015 to completely eliminate use of the chemical.

      A couple of months ago I found out about some eco-friendly cookware from Starfrit. I purchased a 28cm Starfrit "Alternative" eco-friendly pan, and I'm relieved to have finally found something that works. While not all Starfrit's product are in the eco-friendly category, the Alternative line is. Their "Ceram-Eco" ceramic non-stick surface performed surprisingly well. It is made from natural ceramic powder so it doesn't contain any PFTE or PFOA chemicals. The thing I like most is NOTHING sticks on the pan.

      3 Replies
      1. re: cdube

        You are certainly entitled to your experience but my experience with these "ceramic" alternatives is AWFUL. They require a lot of fussing to keep them "non-stick," and have limited use in my cooking repertoire: eggs and pancakes are about all I have found them useful to cook. After the first couple of uses, everything sticks to them again and you have to start all over.

        I prefer using cast iron. Indeed I gave away every single piece of my TFal and Teflon and Greenpans in favor of cast iron -- both naked and enamel -- and I haven't looked back. I wish I had done it years ago. Cast iron requires minimal fussing, is wonderfully non-stick, lasts for generations and is cheap to own. My cooking has improved tenfold ever since I began using them. Who knew? I sure didn't.

        Cautions: Cast iron is heavy and probably not appropriate for someone with arthritis. The naked pans need to be seasoned properly and though there are lots of different seasoning methods, you have to find one that works best for you.

        1. re: Ambimom

          I don't recall these 3 brands being discussed here before, but Greenpan has gotten some attention.

          It is worth while checking with a retailer that takes user comments, such as Amazon. I look at the number of comments, and the kinds of things that the negative ones complain about. Sometimes they are trivial matters, or indications that buyer did not understand the product. But they can also indicate serious problems, ones that might not surface until 6mths of use. If there are few reviews, then you are on your own.

        2. re: cdube

          Re: Starfrit "Ceram-Eco" pans. I'm not sure how long they are supposed to last; but after a year of use mine is beat up, the handle rivet comes loose all the time and it is very far from non-stick. I guess that is what I get for buying cheap pans.

        3. This months Cooks Illustrated magazine has an on reviews of these types of pans. They really didn't think much of any of them.

          1. I have purchased two of these pans.

            1) Todd English green pan. My thoughts are that the product is a piece of junk. I did not even get a full two months use and ran into intense sticking.

            2) Cuisinart Green gourmet. I picked up this pan on a 4-for-3 deal on Amazon. This pan really does what it is advertised to do. I have fried bacon, skinless chicken breast, sauces, egg whites and absolutely nothing sticks. (Note: I do regular cleaning methods, especially around the rivets, but most time a rinse and wipe is enough to clean).

            That being said, 95% of my cookware is SS, I have one cast iron, along with this one Cuisinart Green Gourmet pan. I think it's a great additional item to have and would consider buying maybe one more piece on clearance (if available). However, I think buying a whole set is unnecessary (but that is my view on any cookware type).

            1. For their purpose I am more than pleased with Cusinart's Green Gourmet non-sticks -I've been using the omlette/ frying pans with great results. They really work well for me.

              However, as another poster has stated most of my cookware is not non-stick pieces -copper, cast iron, stainless steel all have their places and uses. But when the need arises these green gourmet pieces have out preformed anything else I've seen.

              2 Replies
              1. re: chin_monster

                Thanks , have now found a new alternative- what do you think about Chantel's enameled steel cookware? Is it really non stick?

                1. re: normnew

                  normnew, first, a disclaimer: we do not own a nonstick pan, and cannot imagine that we ever will, nor do we own a Chantal. We probably will try the Chantal Copper Fusion for our next pan purchase -- if there ever is a next pan purchase.

                  Having disqualified ourselves to speak to your question from personal experience, we have looked at the consumer reviews of the Chantal Copper Fusion on Amazon. Not one of the reviews addresses the only issue we care about, how well it cooks food. Most the consumer reviews there strike the tone, "I was robbed! It's not Teflon!" From this we surmise that, like all well-made enamelware, the Chantal enamel is moderately nonstick, but that, for those who cannot live without Teflon, it is no substitute for Teflon.