Ozeri pots and pans don’t make our list of the best non-toxic cookware. Here is our response to a reader question about the brand.
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At Leaf Score we like to highlight the brands and businesses that are doing things better than the rest, as regards sustainability (and, ideally, social responsibility). This means we don’t waste much time talking about products we don’t recommend.
That said, readers often write in to ask for our opinions on popular cookware brands and products.
For instance, a reader asked:
Have you reviewed the Ozeri ceramic frying pans?Jo Hahn
We hadn’t reviewed the Ozeri pots and pans because we don’t recommend them.
Normally, we wouldn’t bother with a review. But in this case, it seems worth explaining why Ozeri doesn’t make the Leaf Score cut as it helps highlight our methodology, ethos, and approach.
Is Ozeri cookware sustainable and safe?
Right off the bat, we can say that Ozeri does not make safe and sustainable cookware.
How do we know?
In part because Ozeri tells us as much, if we read between the lines of its marketing copy and do some research beyond the product descriptions.
Also, conveniently, a 2020 study by the Ecology Center found that the Ozeri Stoneware 8-inch frying pan was coated in PTFE.
Of course, you wouldn’t think so if you just went on the product hype and marketing claims from Ozeri, which include:
- 100% free of APEO, GenX, PFBS, PFOS, PFOA, and the lesser known chemicals NMP and NEP.
- Eco-friendly pan delivers unprecedented non-stick performance without risk of exposure to these controversial chemicals.
- Stone-derived coating from Germany
- Even under high temperatures, no such controversial chemicals are ever passed on to you, or released into the environment.
- The Stone Pan utilizes an inert coating inspired by nature
- Completely free of PFOA and APEO
- Far more durable and scratch-resistant than other non-stick surfaces.
- Achieves non-stick perfection without using ‘forever chemicals’ often found in traditional cookware.
Before we really dig in, let’s remember two things that Ozeri seems to want us to forget:
- PTFE is a forever chemical
- PFOA hasn’t been permitted in cookware coatings in the US since 2015.
As such, Ozeri’s claim that a PTFE-coated pan is free of forever chemicals is factually incorrect.
Also, PTFE isn’t non-toxic:
At normal cooking temperatures, PTFE-coated cookware releases various gases and chemicals that present mild to severe toxicity.Sajid, M., & Ilyas, M., 2017, Environmental science and pollution research international
Also, Ozeri’s asserion that conventional cookware often uses PFOA and APEO (Alkylphenol ethoxylates) to apply non-stick coatings is patently false and deliberately scaremongering. Unless you go out of your way to buy cookware sold outside the U.S. or illegally imported, it’s very unlikely your cookware contains PFOA, even if it is PTFE coated.
Is Ozeri being honest and transparent?
Technically, Ozeri is honest about its Stone Pans. After all, it doesn’t claim they are PTFE-free when they’re not.
However, Ozeri is certainly not upfront about these pans being PTFE non-stick, nor is it transparent about the ‘pure ceramic’ coatings on its Green Pans. And for me, Ozeri is absolutely guilty of greenwashing.
Why? Because if you look really carefully at the specifications for the Stone Pans, you’ll see that the coating is Greblon C3+, which is PTFE reinforced with three layers of ceramic (hence C3+). Of course, you might only realize this once you get the pan home and check the small print, then go to the coating manufacturer’s website.
The cynic in me suspects this is Ozeri’s intention, given the reluctance of consumers to return products they bought in error.
If you have a bird in your home, or young children, or anyone vulnerable to toxic gases, don’t use this pan.
What about Ozeri’s other cookware offerings? Are they any better? Not really.
Is Ozeri’s Green Pan collection safe and sustainable?
Here’s where things get slippery (no oil needed).
In recent years, Ozeri released a ‘Green Ceramic Frying Pan” that it claims has a:
100% PTFE, PFC, APEO, GenX, NMP and NEP-Free German-Made Coating.Ozeri website
The marketing difference is subtle. The Stone Earth pans are not described as free of PTFE and PFCs (and do actually contain PFCs in the form of PTFE).
In contrast, the Green Ceramic cookware is marketed as 100% free of PTFE.
In fact, the Green Ceramic marketing really wants you to see this pan as a safe cookware option and even talks about the dangers of PFCs (which the company uses!) while trying to sell you the Green Pan.
What’s the non-stick coating on Ozeri Green Pans?
Instead of Thermolon (Greenpan’s coating) or Greblon C3+, the Ozeri Green Pan frying pan is coated with another type of Greblon, which Ozeri describes as “an ultra-safe ceramic coating from Germany.”
Ozeri says its Green Pan is:
One of the world’s first frying pans to achieve non-stick perfection while remaining absolutely free of PTFE, PFOA and APEO.Ozeri website
Ozeri also notes that its Green Pan is “made of a durable heavy-gauge aluminum core, with no heavy trace metals.”
The average consumer could easily believe, then, that the Ozeri Green Ceramic Frying Pan is a non-toxic, non-stick alternative to toxic PTFE-coated conventional pans.
Do I believe that to be the case? No.
Despite those marketing claims, I have no reason to trust that Ozeri is being truly transparent and honest about the materials and processes it uses to make its cookware.
After all, this is the same brand that continues to advertise its PTFE pans as ‘eco-friendly’, despite the damage PTFE does to the environment, and the fact that these pans tend to lose their usefulness in just a few years.
Ozeri also provides no third-party leach testing or other test reports to back up claims about heavy trace metals (such as lead and cadmium).
Ozeri Green Pan coating – the very fine print
When I first started looking into Ozeri, I wanted to give the company the benefit of the doubt. Sure, these pans looked like a Greenpan debacle all over again, but I wanted to be sure I wasn’t just judging them by initial appearance (which is eerily similar to Greenpan).
As part of my due diligence, I had a good dig around on their German coating manufacturer’s website. I also tried to track down the patents for Greblon. Unfortunately, very few details are available about the precise composition of these coatings.
According to Ozeri, the Green Pan features an
inert, 100% ceramic coating, largely inspired by nature, and applied using a water based Sol Gel Technique that is also free of the lesser known but potentially harmful chemicals NMP (N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidone) and NEP (N-ethyl-2-pyrrolidone).Ozeri website
Ozeri says that the Green Pan’s “scratch-resistant ceramic coating does not release harmful fumes or toxins at extreme temperatures.” The company doesn’t offer any third-party testing to back up this claim.
After more digging, I found a promotional brochure from the maker of Greblon. This is intended to sell the coatings to cookware manufacturers and other companies.
The brochure shows that Greblon CK1 and Greblon CK2, the two ceramic coating options, are about twice as durable as the Greblon PTFE C2 and C2+ coatings.
However, and here’s the kicker, the ceramic coatings are about four times less durable than the C3 and C3+ coatings made with Teflon.
|PTFE plus 3 coats of ceramic
|PTFE plus 3 coats of ceramic (but thinner topcoat)
|2 coats of ceramic via sol-gel process – PTFE-free (according to Ozeri)
|1 coat of ceramic via sol-gel process – PTFE-free (according to Ozeri)
|*DR stands for double rubs, a measure of durability and scratch resistance
So… is the ceramic coating more eco-friendly?
Given that we don’t know exactly what’s in these pans, it’s debatable. Especially if you factor in the strong likelihood that you’ll need to replace an Ozeri Green Pan at least three times as fast as a Stone Pan with PTFE made by the same company.
Watch out for Ozeri’s ‘Green Pan” products that aren’t PTFE-free
Even more confusingly, Ozeri offers a range of Green cookware that doesn’t appear to use the same ceramic coating.
The descriptions for the Green Sauce Pan, for instance, make no claim that this is 100% PTFE-free, only that it’s PFOA-free. As we’ve seen, this is greenwashing at its finest.
Final thoughts on Ozeri cookware
This was a lengthy article to get to a simple point.
Don’t buy Ozeri cookware.
The cookware the company tells you is eco-friendly is made with PTFE. And the cookware that looks like it might be free of toxic chemicals isn’t durable.
I also really dislike how Ozeri offers a product bundle called ‘Junior Cooking Essentials” in either blue or pink (ugh). This ‘fun’ gift for the budding chef features a polyester blend apron (a terrible idea when cooking as it can melt to your skin) and a frying pan that doesn’t appear to be PTFE-free. Definitely not one for our Holiday Gift Guide.
All in all, your money is much better spent buying a good cast iron or carbon steel pan and seasoning it well. Or, if you really need a ceramic non-stick pan, go for Alva or Caraway. Both companies release their third-party test reports and are sustainable, transparent, and much more eco-friendly overall.