Why Reddit Finds This Idea For Reheating Taco Bell Food So Concerning

Craving some Mexican-inspired food, you decide to make a quick stop at Taco Bell. Because your stomach is growling — and everything on the menu just looks so good (so much cheese! so many carbs!) — you order a lot. We're talking a beefy burrito, a couple of Doritos Locos Tacos, chips, queso, and, of course, cinnamon twists for dessert. Halfway through your meal, you realized you may have ordered a little bit too much to eat in one sitting. Rather than toss your extra food in the trash and waste all that money, you decide to wrap up what you haven't yet eaten to save for later.

Taco Bell leftovers are a great thing to find in your fridge when you're hungry. While some people on Reddit compare cold tacos to cold pizza — as in, they think they taste better straight out of the refrigerator — if you're someone who prefers them piping hot, you can easily reheat your food. However, an image that was recently shared gives the impression that at least one Redditor could be reheating their Taco Bell leftovers still in the packaging, and people are concerned. Here's why that might not be such a good idea.

People are concerned about chemicals getting into the food

While most people likely take food out of the wrapper before heating it up, one Redditor recently posted a photo of Taco Bell leftovers, still in the packaging, sitting in a pan on the stove. "Does anyone else reheat food this way?" they asked. While we can't verify how serious this post is, people in the comments chimed in, and most seemed very alarmed by the original poster's apparent method of reheating leftover fast food. "Who knows what chemicals are leeching out of that packaging while being heated up," one person said, while another added, "The wrappers are full of phthalates and other awful [chemicals]...discard as soon as possible.."

How valid are their concerns? Taco Bell wrappers — and those from other popular fast food chains — may contain high levels of not-so-good-for-you plastics and chemicals, like phthalates, according to Washington University postdoc Lariah Edwards (via Insider). Taco Bell's parent company, Yum! Brands, received a D- score on the Retailer Report Card, which evaluates restaurants and retailers based on their "toxic chemicals" usage or policies. But that may be changing in the not-too-distant future. The Taco Bell website states that the chain plans to phase out all harmful chemicals, including PFAS, phthalates, and BPA from its "customer-facing packaging" by 2025. For now, however (and maybe forever), you're probably better off unwrapping your leftovers before you reheat them.