Healthcare Dishware and Beverageware
Ensure safe and sanitary service by using this healthcare dishware and beverageware, including plastic dishes and lids for bowls.
Healthcare Meal Equipment
Use healthcare meal equipment to easily wheel large quantities of items and maintain proper holding temperatures while you transport food to patients.
Healthcare Trays and Servers
Many healthcare trays feature non-skid surfaces, and meal servers are often insulated and have compatible covers to prevent contamination.
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How to Prevent Cross-Contamination
Cross-contamination occurs when harmful bacteria is transferred to foods, which can result in serious health risks like food poisoning or unintended exposure to food allergens. If your kitchen staff members know how to prevent cross-contamination by correctly storing and preparing food, you can save the time and money that would be wasted on improperly handled food. By making the effort to separate your foods while storing and preparing them, sanitizing your kitchen surfaces and equipment, and practicing proper personal hygiene, you can create a kitchen environment that follows food safety guidelines. What is Cross-Contamination? Cross-contamination occurs when disease-causing microorganisms, like bacteria and viruses, are transferred from one food to another. As a result, cross-contamination is one of the leading causes of foodborne illnes. Cross-contact is most frequently caused by unwashed cutting boards, hands, or kitchen tools like knives and tongs. While cooking to food-safe temperatures will kill dangerous bacteria, most food contamination happens when the bacteria from a raw food item interacts with food that doesn't need to be cooked. How to Prevent Foodborne Illness You can best prevent foodborne illness by being aware of the risk for contamination in each step of your food preparation process. It is possible to contaminate food before it is prepared, during preparation, and even when food is served to your customer. Implementing a HACCP program, or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points program, will help you to identify and control contamination risks. Teaching all of your staff how to prevent cross-contamination can help your food stay safe from the moment it arrives in your kitchen to its delivery at your guests' tables. By requiring your kitchen staff to obtain food handling certification or food handler's permits, you can further ensure that your kitchen is a safe and sanitary environment. Preventing Cross-Contamination through Food Storage You can avoid contaminating food before it is prepared by using the correct food storage techniques. Proper food storage in the refrigerator is important to prevent cross-contamination, as many types of food are often stored in one place. In this environment, contaminants can easily spread from one food item to another if they have not been adequately protected or organized appropriately. When organizing your kitchen, follow these guidelines for safely storing food: Keep raw meats and dairy in well-sealed, sturdy food storage containers to prevent contact with other foods. ServSafe recommends storing food in the following order from top to bottom based on the minimum internal cooking temperature of each product: ready to eat food, seafood, whole cuts of beef and pork, ground meat and ground fish, whole and ground poultry. If space and budget allow, store your raw meats and dairy items in separate refrigeration units from your fruits, vegetables, and other ready-to-eat items. Preventing Cross-Contamination During Food Preparation Even if food has been stored properly, there are still opportunities for cross-contamination once your staff starts preparing meals. Use the following preparation practices to avoid cross-contamination of foods: Clean your surfaces before preparing food on them, and be sure to sanitize them between uses. Failing to clean a work surface after preparing raw meat will contaminate any food items or equipment that you place on it afterwards. For added safety, use color-coded cutting boards to differentiate between supplies that are used for raw meat, fish, poultry, fruits, and vegetables. Try using color-coded chef knives to easily designate your knives for the same reason. Following HACCP guidelines for color-coded knives, green knives should be used with fresh produce, white knives for dairy, yellow with raw poultry, red with raw meat, blue for raw fish, and brown knives are meant to be used with cooked meat. To prevent contamination, equipment should be kept separate from food storage areas once it has been cleaned and sanitized. Practicing Proper Personal Hygiene Sometimes, contaminants linger on your employees’ hands and clothing. Here are some ways to prevent cross-contamination from improper hygiene habits: Require your kitchen staff to wear aprons and headwear to protect food from outside contaminants carried on the body or clothes. To best keep hands free from contamination, have employees wear disposable gloves and make sure that gloves are changed when an employee begins handling a new food or material. Also have employees wash their hands frequently and thoroughly, especially when handling raw meat, fish, or poultry. Handling Food Safely Preventing contamination is not finished until the food is brought to your customer’s table. This being said, cross-contamination can happen if utensils, glasses, and plates are improperly handled while your tables are set or cleared. To prevent contamination when serving food to your guests, consider the following tips on how to handle food safely: When plating prepared food, avoid using the same utensils to serve different food items. Have one for meat, fish, and poultry, and another for sides like vegetables or starches. Never put ice or garnish into a glass with your bare hands, but instead use a scoop or tongs. Always hold utensils by their handles and not by the portions that will come in contact with your patrons’ food. Similarly, have your servers handle your guests’ dishes by their base, without touching any portions of the plate where the food may go. Products for Preventing Cross-Contamination Now that you know how to avoid cross-contamination in your preparation processes, consider these products that make practicing sanitary habits easier. Probe wipes are essential for sterilizing probe thermometers after each use. Because they are used only once, disposable food thermometers help to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination. Day of the week and product labels allow you to clearly label food items in your storage areas, so your employees know what is being stored and when it is safe for consumption. Try color-coded probe thermometers to prevent cross-contamination while ensuring that your foods are cooked to safe temperatures. To prevent cross-contamination in your kitchen, it is important to practice sanitary habits throughout your food preparation processes. Food can be contaminated as early as during storage, and as late as during serving. Keeping your food safe means familiarizing yourself and your employees with techniques and products for preventing cross-contamination. You can refer to this article as a guide for beginning the practices that will help you run a safe and sanitary kitchen.
Food Allergy Best Practices for Restaurants
If you run a food service business or cafeteria, you must educate yourself on common food allergens and how to prevent allergic reactions. Studies show that roughly 2% of adults and 5% of infants and young children in the United States suffer from food allergies, and around 30,000 consumers require emergency room treatment for allergic reactions to food each year. Keep reading to learn more about food allergies, allergen labeling, and how to protect your patrons. Download a PDF That Breaks Down the Top Eight Food Allergens Shop All Allergy Preventing, Color-Coded Kitchen Supplies Navigate to the allergen information that interests you with the following links: Intro to Food Allergies Cross-Contamination Cross-Contact The Big 8 Food Allergens Allergen-Safe Restaurant Menus Allergen-Safe Restaurant Supplies FALCPA Compliance Allergen-Safe School Foodservice Understanding Food Allergies The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the number of individuals with food allergies has continued to rise during the past decade. Additionally, according to ServSafe, half of the fatal episodes from allergic reactions to food occur outside of the home. However, there is currently no legislation stating that restaurants must accommodate customers with food allergies. While safely serving patrons with food allergies may seem complicated and risky, there are several ways to earn their trust. Start by understanding specifically what their allergen is and deciding whether your restaurant can safely prepare their meal. It's also essential to ensure proper communication between your front- and back-of-house staff regarding a customer's particular allergy. Finally, you must be knowledgeable about your ingredients and know how to read their labels to detect any known allergens. What Is Cross Contamination? Cross-contamination is at the root of most foodborne illnesses and is caused when bacteria and other microorganisms contaminate foods during storage and preparation. Unlike cross-contact, in most cases, proper cooking of contaminated food will reduce or eliminate the chances of foodborne illness. Here are some of the most important steps you can follow to limit the chances of cross-contamination: Keep meat and seafood sealed: Store raw meat and seafood on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator in a sealed container or bag to ensure juices don't drip onto other foods. Keep produce organized: Store washed produce in clean, color-coded storage containers, rather than placing them back into their original packaging. Color code equipment: Use color-coded kitchen equipment when preparing foods. Equipping your kitchen with HACCP color-coded knives and other utensils can help you avoid cross-contamination and ensure proper food handling. For example, green knives can be designated for fresh produce, while red can be designated for raw meat. What Is Cross Contact? Cross-contact is defined as the transfer of an allergen from food containing the allergen to a food that doesn't contain the allergen. When different foods come into contact with one another, their proteins mix. At that point, each food contains trace amounts of the other food that are usually too small to be seen with the naked eye. Important note: Unlike cross-contamination, cooking does not eliminate or reduce the likelihood of a person with a food allergy reacting to the contaminated food. How to Avoid Cross Contact There are many easy ways to avoid cross-contact at your foodservice establishment. 1. Practice Proper Sanitation Ensure your staff is washing, rinsing, and properly sanitizing cookware, utensils, and equipment after they've handled a food allergen. Using soap and water is a must, as simply wiping leftover food from surfaces doesn't completely remove the allergen. Additionally, your prep cooks and chefs should wash their hands and change gloves before coming into contact with known allergens. 2. Use Separate Equipment Your employees should also be using separate equipment to prepare meals for customers with food allergies. This includes fryers, grills, flattops, blenders, and other machines, all of which can become contaminated with leftover allergens when not cleaned properly. This is especially important between shifts, as some breakfast foods cooked with particular equipment may contain allergens that lunch foods cooked with that same piece of equipment do not. 3. Create a Serving Plan Once an allergen-sensitive customer's meal is ready to serve, it's important to have a serving plan in place. Consider using a different colored bowl or plate to designate their meal, and you can also use a colored ticket or food marker to indicate special handling. Most importantly, ensure your servers are delivering allergen-sensitive meals separately. Employees will usually bring several plates to the table at the same time near one another, but this delivery method cannot be used when serving guests with food allergies. The Big 8 Allergens While there are over 160 known sources of food allergens, a small group of allergens known as the "Big Eight" are responsible for a whopping 90% of all food allergy reactions. Consumption of these foods by affected individuals is the most likely to result in severe or life-threatening allergic reactions. 1. Dairy Milk A dairy milk allergy is one of the most common food allergies in infants and young children. Individuals who are allergic to cow's milk should also avoid milk from other domestic animals. If you operate a coffee shop, discover the best non-dairy creamers for coffee. Common Sources of Dairy Allergens Buttermilk Cheese Pudding Sour cream Unexpected Sources of Dairy Allergens Caramel Chocolate Lunch meat Steaks 2. Eggs Many people are also allergic to eggs, including young children. The whites of an egg contain the proteins that cause allergic reactions, but sensitive individuals need to avoid eggs altogether since it's impossible to completely separate the whites and yolks. Common Sources of Egg Allergens Baked Goods Macaroni Marshmallows Mayonnaise Unexpected Sources of Egg Allergens Foam topping on drinks Lo mein noodles Batter fried foods 3. Peanuts Peanuts are different from tree nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, and cashews. Instead, they grow underground and are in the same family as beans, peas, lentils, and soybeans. Peanuts and tree nuts often come into contact with one another during the manufacturing and serving processes. Common Sources of Peanut Allergens Baked goods Candy Peanut butter Mixed nuts Unexpected Sources of Peanut Allergens Chili Egg rolls Pancakes Meat substitutes 4. Tree Nuts Tree nuts include cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, and coconuts. Most individuals who are allergic to one kind of tree nut are also allergic to other types. Tree nuts and peanuts often come into contact with one another during the manufacturing and serving processes. Common Sources of Tree Nut Allergens Nut butter Pesto Artificial nuts Milk alternatives Unexpected Sources of Tree Nut Allergens Cereals Energy bars Flavored coffee Italian sausage 5. Fish Over 50% of people who are allergic to one type of fish are also allergic to other types of fish. Affected individuals should avoid seafood restaurants and fish markets, as there is a high risk of cross-contact at these places. Common Sources of Fish Allergens All types of fish Unexpected Sources of Fish Allergens Barbeque sauce Caesar dresing Meatloaf Worcesterchire sauce 6. Shellfish Shellfish fall into two groups: crustacea (shrimp, crab, lobster) and mollusks (clams, mussels, oysters, scallops). Crustacea are responsible for the majority of shellfish reactions, which are usually severe. Being allergic to shellfish doesn't always mean an individual is also allergic to fish, but they should still exercise caution. Common Sources of Shellfish Allergens Crustaceans Mollusks Unexpected Sources of Shellfish Allergens Asian dishes Foods with fish sauce as a flavor base sauce 7. Soy A member of the legume family, soybeans alone are not typically found in American diets. However, they're frequently used in processed food products and form the basis of many meat substitutes. Common Sources of Soy Allergens Edamame Soy sauce Tofu Tempeh Unexpected Sources of Soy Allergens Canned tuna Processed meat Crackers Canned soups 8. Wheat The final member of the Big Eight is wheat, which is also at the root of gluten intolerance. If your guests are allergic to wheat, use gluten-free ingredients and alternate grains like barley, quinoa, rice, and rye. Common Sources of Wheat Allergens Bread Couscous Flour Seitan Unexpected Sources of Wheat Allergens Ice cream Gyros Imitation crab Marinara sauce Processed meat Note: While sesame is widely considered to be the ninth common allergen, current U.S. federal law does not require food manufacturers to declare it. How to Prevent Food Allergies in Restaurants A concise restaurant menu is your first line of defense in protecting guests with food allergies, so be sure to craft yours accordingly. Consider doing the following: Use text, icons, and other abbreviations on your menu to denote the Big Eight. Provide a general restaurant menu disclaimer for food items that cannot be altered to accommodate food allergies. For example, say, "All fried items are prepared in oil that is also used to cook shellfish, fish, and breaded items." Offer substitutions like gluten-free rolls, dairy-free creamer, and dishes prepared with vegetable oil, rather than peanut oil. Market allergy-friendly meals by specifically denoting them on your menu and menu boards. Include a notice on your menu and menu boards that reads, "Before placing your order, please inform your server if a person in your party has a food allergy." Allergy Preventing Restaurant Supplies To keep your restaurant safe for customers with allergies, always use color-coded kitchen supplies. These can range from knives and containers to tongs and measuring cups, so it's essential to take stock of your entire inventory before purchasing allergen-safe kitchen tools. Purple products are most commonly used to prepare meals for guests with food allergies. To eliminate the risk of cross-contact, designate equipment to be used only for allergen-sensitive meals and ensure it's labeled and stored separately. FALCPA Compliance If you're a food supplier, you must stay in compliance with FALCPA (Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act) requirements. Keep reading to learn more. What Is FALCPA? FALCPA requires that any food regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) be labeled in a specific way to identify any of the "Big Eight" allergens. This makes it easy for consumers and restaurateurs to quickly determine common allergens. FALCPA is an amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and applies to all food products labeled on or after January 1, 2006. How FALCPA Impacts Your Business If you run a retail or foodservice establishment that packages, labels, and sells products for human consumption, FALCPA labeling applies to your business. The FDA sometimes conducts inspections of foodservice businesses and also has the authority to make companies recall products with undeclared food allergens. Below, we've listed examples of how these labeling practices can apply to your business: Packaged goods: FALCPA labeling applies to all packaged, bottled sauces, or conventional foods other than USDA-regulated foods. Additives and ingredients: Flavors, colors, and additives that contain any Big Eight allergens must be labeled appropriately. Health products: Any vitamins, dietary supplements, or medical foods must be properly labeled in accordance with FALCPA guidelines. Additional products: Infant foods, items in vending machines, and packages labeled for individual sale must be labeled as required. Businesses that do not comply with FALCPA labeling requirements can be subject to the civil and criminal penalty provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Any products with undeclared allergens will also be subject to recall. Companies that believe their food product should be exempt from FALCPA can petition the secretary of Health and Human Services with scientific evidence to back up their claim. FALCPA Allergen Labeling To meet FALCPA labeling requirements, the common or usual name of an ingredient (i.e. buttermilk) that is a major food allergen must identify the allergen’s food source name (i.e. milk). Otherwise, the allergen’s food source name must be declared at least once on the food label in one of two ways: In parentheses: Following the name of the ingredient, list the allergen in parentheses. For example, "Lecithin (soy), Flour (wheat), and Whey (milk)." In a statement: Immediately after or next to the ingredients, include a “contains” statement such as "Contains Soy, Wheat, and Milk." Adhering to FALCPA labeling requirements not only keeps your customers safe but also helps protect your business from potential liabilities. FALCPA Exemptions Generally, meat, poultry, and alcoholic beverages aren't subject to FALCPA labeling. Meat, poultry, and most egg products are already regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Alcohol, Tobacco Tax, and Trade Bureau monitor alcoholic beverages and tobacco items. Similarly, fresh fruits and vegetables, highly-refined oils derived from a member of the Big Eight, and food placed in containers in response to a person's order are exempt from FALCPA labeling. How to Prevent Allergic Reactions in School Foodservice To prevent allergic reactions in schools, you must adhere to local codes and regulations. Certain federal laws mandate that schools must provide appropriate accommodations, substitutions, and services to children with life-threatening food allergies. Similarly, life-threatening food allergies may be considered a disability. Children are more susceptible to food allergy reactions in school settings. The CDC reports that 16-18% of children with food allergies have had allergic reactions due to the accidental ingestion of allergens while at school. Additionally, 25% of food-induced anaphylaxis reactions in schools occur among students without a previous food allergy diagnosis. How to Prevent Allergic Reactions on Your Campus To ensure students stay safe in your school cafeteria or at any off-campus school-sponsored activities, be sure to take the following steps: Develop a plan: Identify students with allergies and develop a written management plan for addressing allergic reactions that includes medication protocols. Request documentation: Collect the proper documentation from allergen-sensitive students, including a diet prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. Follow protocol: Effectively execute your school's management plan if a student experiences an allergic reaction on school grounds. Additionally, you can avoid cross-contact at your cafeteria's serving line by: Placing allergen and nutrition cards on food shields and sneeze guards. Use proprietary guards to eliminate cross-contact. Don't use the same ladle, tongs, scoop, or other utensils to serve more than one specific dish or ingredient. Knowing how to protect your school, university, or daycare students from known food allergens and being ready to effectively address potential reactions is essential to running a successful educational facility. Accommodating patrons with food allergies is not only a matter of public health and safety, but it can also provide increased revenue opportunities. You can easily earn your customers' trust by offering ingredient substitutions, managing cross-contact, and including accurate food allergy disclaimers. Doing so will help your guests feel comfortable as they dine at your establishment and keep them coming back for years to come! The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.
Serve and Deliver Food in Your Hospital or Nursing Home Using a Meal Delivery System
Healthcare meal delivery systems streamline your serving process, so you can accommodate and serve many patients and residents in your hospital, assisted living center, or nursing home. We offer complete heating systems that keep serving underliners warm until delivery as well as insulated meal delivery carts on wheels. For room service, use a meal delivery system that features an insulated base and cover to keep meals hot inside.
Our healthcare dishware, dietary trays, and beverageware options are perfect for your cafeteria. They're made of durable plastics that eliminate the potential for dangerous broken glass shards, and they're easy to clean. These dinnerware options also come with lids if spillage is a concern. When your staff is cleaning up after service, our storage and drying racks will help dry off large, cumbersome trays and delivery containers.