Last May, I was reading a site from Lead Safe Mama that indicated that all of the vintage Corelle dishes that we had picked up from friends, relatives, and thrift stores through the years contain lead in the decretive pattern on the outside of each dish. Until now, there were no lab tests on vintage Corelle dishes.
Exploring a little further, there was a lot of information on the subject. While it appeared unlikely that the Corelle dishes would be harmful, I could not get a straight answer to indicate that the dishes were indeed safe either through Corelle or through the new brand owner Instant Brands.
Some of the chatter on social media indicated that Corelle was going to start testing their older dish patterns. However, no one I saw could indicate when this would start.
Doing More Due Diligence On Vintage Corelle Dishes
So I did what any average person would do I called the Instant Brands Consumer Hotline. The best way to communicate this issue was by FB Messager. This is what I asked back on May 30th, 2022.
We love our vintage Corelle dishes at our cottage in Northern Michigan. They are the same brand I had growing up as a kid; Corelle dishes by Corningware. They were lightweight, practically indestructible, and easy to clean. Whenever we are thrift store, it’s not uncommon for us to snatch up an old piece or two that matches our pattern.
As a result, we have a nice set that can sit up to twelve guests on those summer days on the lake when we have a walleye fish fry on the back porch. Now, we discovered we have to get rid of all the old Corelle. We are sad, but this stuff is likely in cabins and cottages all over Michigan. Can you keep us updated on your testing? We like your products but want to protect the grandkids who have been eating off these old plates.Email sent to Corelle Brands via FB Messenger – May 30, 2022, 12:07 PM
We Found More Corelle And Placed it in Storage
Since then, I almost forgot about that email communication. We had dug through our cottage kitchen, and we came up with several more pieces of vintage Corelle dishes and old Pyrex from the 1970s. We had a one-a-half quart casserole dish that we use all the time and some other pieces that we use not so much. I ended up sticking them in a box in the garage. I didn’t want to give up these great dishes.
A Positive Update From Instant Brands on Their Testing
With so much going on, I almost forgot about my inquiry. So it was a bit of a surprise that I received a rather lengthy message on Facebook Messenger from Corelle. This is what they had to say.
“Hello Mike, we want to let you know that Instant Brands has conducted additional testing with an outside laboratory to determine whether vintage Corelle products made before 2000 comply with today’s consumer [your] expectations as to safety and whether it’s ok to use them as every-day dinnerware. The Company selected multiple patterns of vintage Corelle products, dating back to 1978 for testing.
The food surface contact testing was designed to identify whether any small amount of lead that may have existed in pre-2000 manufactured Corelle product leaches from the product in amounts above today’s acceptable lead-safety regulations. The small amount of lead used in decorations pre-2000 was encapsulated in glass before and after the decoration was applied to product and fired to above 750C.
The Corelle manufacturing process has always encapsulated decoration in glass, using extremely high processing temperatures to ensure the glass.decorations are sealed, which prevents food contact and intentionally decreases the extent of any lead migration to food. The testing confirms that the vintage products tested comply with current FDA lead-safety regulations – so feel free to use them for every-day dinnerware.Answer from Corelle via Facebook Messenger, July 26, 2022
Our Next Steps with Our Vintage Corelle Dishes
Needless to say, this makes us happy. We can return the Corelle dishes that we had in storage back into full service in our kitchen. And we can look out for other pieces from the thrift store from time to time to see if we want to expand our collection to use every day in northern Michigan. Sometimes digging a little further is all you need to set the record straight.