As plastic technology continues to create stronger, more moisture and bacteria-resistant products, the food service industry is quickly making a shift from metal to plastic. Plastic carries many benefits in this industry, including lightweight materials, the option for improved visibility of food and greater safety in food handling. Here’s a closer look at how plastics are being used in the food preparation industry, and what products are the best to choose.
Polycarbonate and PETG for Food Storage
Food storage containers are an integral part of the food prep process. Safe storage for food that is easy to access makes food prep easier and more sanitary. Plastics provide clean, attractive and transparent food storage options that can meet the requirements of the FDA. PETG and polycarbonate plastics are particularly well suited for this, because they are nonporous, lightweight and transparent. These plastics are safe to handle foods at a variety of temperature ranges and even with acidic or oil-based contents, all without the heavy nature of glass. They can be easily sanitized as well, helping to keep the food prep environment clean.
High Density Polyethylene for Safe Prep and Cutting Surfaces
Food prep involves a lot of cutting, and when cutting surfaces are marred by sharp knife blades, food safety is compromised. Even microscopic flaws in a food prep area’s surface can allow a space for bacteria to grow, compromising food safety. Hard, impact resistant plastics like high density polyethylene, or HDPE, make ideal cutting surfaces. This material resists damage from knives, are not easy to stain and resist moisture absorption. Small cutting surfaces can be cleaned in the dishwasher, while larger ones can be cleaned using a variety of food industry cleaning chemicals, all without damage to the material. HDPE resists chipping and is not likely to harbor bacteria that will contaminate food, even when used for multiple food types.
Acetal for Industrial Food Preparation
In industrial food preparation settings, acetal is a preferred plastic. This plastic resists heat well, can be machined into a variety of shapes to help in a factory setting, and is easy to sanitize, making it safer in food preparation. This plastic resists damage from cleaning chemicals and acidic food and can function well in submerged applications when necessary.
The plastics industry is quickly overtaking the food preparation world. With lighter weights and increased durability compared to wood, metal and glass, plastic will soon be the first choice for those working in food preparation. With so much variety in the plastic industry, food preparation is getting easier and safer.