July 2001

A recent scientific study has helped the foodservice industry discover one of the most overlooked vehicles for cross contamination of E. Coli, Salmonella, and other pathogens.

Nearly every commercial kitchen has cardboard cutter boxes for dispensing plastic wrap and aluminum foil. These boxes are a high carbon source that when combined with the moist conditions of food contact surfaces provide an excellent host for bacteria and cockroaches. These boxes come in contact with raw chicken and other meat juices, eggs, sanitation chemicals, anything being processed in a kitchen or bakeshop. The absorbent, non cleanable surface of these boxes are a complete violation of the FDA Food Code, which is the framework for all Health Department inspections and procedures. The study revealed how E. Coli, Salmonella, Listeria and Shigella flourish on cardboard within normal kitchen environmental conditions.

"These boxes are nothing more than shipping containers with a blade attached, being used as a piece of a equipment on food contact surfaces." states Ken Krall, president of Kenkut Products, a supplier of safety and sanitation equipment. The cutter boxes sit on cutting boards and work tables where food is being prepped, carried around the kitchen by hand to various work areas. The constant exposure to moisture also breaks down the cardboard creating a very disgusting situation. Where does the exfoliated cardboard go?

"I have seen these boxes sitting on floors, dirty shelves and then back in use on food prep tables." admits Krall.

Quite a few eyes were opened at the 2000 National Environmental Health Association Conference in Denver. Krall explains "E. Coli, Salmonella, Listeria as well as other pathogens are common in the food supply. The problems occur when food and equipment are not handled properly, resulting in thousands of illnesses and hundreds of deaths worldwide each year. The health professionals at the NEHA conference openly admitted that the cutter boxes are one of the most overlooked vehicles for cross contamination they had ever seen"

"The cardboard dispenser boxes for aluminum foil and plastic wrap have always been a pet peeve of mine because of the gross cross contamination potential and, like hand washing, people dont give it a second thought. The Kenkut dispenser is a boon to food safety conscience managers and programs. Its about time such a product came out on the market" . Lawrence Pong, Principal Inspector for the City of San Francisco, Bureau of Environmental Health Management.

The FDA Food Code clearly states in Chapter 4* and Annex 3** how cardboard as a piece of equipment is completely unacceptable in a food service environment. The answer to the problem is the NSF APPROVED KENKUT SAFETY DISPENSER sold worldwide. Replacing the cardboard cutter boxes with KENKUT dispensers is an integral part of the HACCP program.

Detailed information can be found here.

Additional reading Every Kitchens Dirty Little Secret

* PARAGRAPHS 4-101.11 / 4-101.111 / 4-201.11 / 4-202.11 / 4-202.16
** 4.101.11 / 4-191.111 / 4-201.11 / 4-202.16 / 4-4-601.11 / 4-601.13

July 2001 Ken Krall

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