Just about every day, somewhere in the country a restaurant is found to be responsible for perpetrating a food-borne illness. This is no doubt inadvertent on their part, but according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just shy of 50 million Americans are estimated to become ill from a food-borne illness annually, almost 130,000 are hospitalized, and sadly, 3,000 people die.

The weak and the infirm are most likely to die as a result of a food-borne illness. This segment of the population includes infants, children, the elderly, and those who have a compromised immune system, such as AIDS or those undergoing immunosuppressive therapy for cancer treatment or diabetes.  

While many factors play into preventing food-borne illnesses from occurring in restaurants, one important way is to use high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic for food storage, utensils, and preparation whenever possible.

Here are two different areas your restaurant can rely on high quality die cut plastic products to help ensure you never have to shut your establishment down due to a food-borne illness.

Plastic Cutting Boards

Wooden cutting boards used to be the only option, and while home chefs may prefer them, institutional kitchens should use only plastic cutting boards. Wooden cutting boards have a natural antimicrobial component to them, but nonetheless, wood can also trap microorganisms. Wooden cutting boards cannot be sent through the dishwasher. Wooden cutting boards cannot be soaked in a bleach solution or other disinfectant.

You can also get plastic cutting boards in assorted colors, which will enable you to implement a food handling safety system where only a certain color can be used for poultry or shellfish. Raw or undercooked poultry, seafood, and eggs all harbor dangerous pathogens like salmonella and E. coli. If the same cutting board is used to cut vegetables for a salad that was previously used for raw chicken, you run the risk of cross-contamination.

Food Storage Containers

Keeping walk-in coolers, freezers, and pantry storage organized is an extremely important aspect of running a commercial kitchen. Space is limited, and containers that are stackable are essential. Containers must also have snap-tight lids to retard spoilage and contain meat and fish juices from contaminating nearby foods.

An unorganized larder is also costly as it will result in a higher food cost when you have to throw things out because they became exposed to air or pests or simply got pushed to the back and forgotten about. Like plastic cutting boards, plastic food storage containers can be easily sanitized and disinfected.

Many restaurants also create salad bars, buffets, and dessert stations, requiring storage and serving bins. A plastic die cutting service can help a restaurant manager create a customized system that will help them perfect their standard operating procedures and sanitation procedures. Plastic die cutting services can also provide you with custom rubber mats for your kitchen floor. Rubber is both shock resistant and water, heat, and slip-resistant, perfect for a commercial kitchen. Learn more here.