It’s been a long arduous day and you’re looking forward to dining at your favourite restaurant to unwind after yet another hectic work week. You glance at the menu, order your favourite dish, then settle back and sip on a drop of fine red to quench your thirst as you soak up the vibrant atmosphere. After some conversation and much anticipation for the fine meal ahead your mouth starts to water as you see the waiter heading your way, balancing your meals on an outstretched arm with artistic flair as he moves briskly through the maze of tables towards you.
As you eagerly tuck in to the dish laid down before you, “Enjoy your meal”, are the last words you recall as your waiter makes his way back to the kitchen. In the blink of an eye you grab your throat and jump up out of your seat in pain, yelling that something is cutting the inside of your throat. Fellow diners look on in fear and panic as you attempt to cough up the culprit. Later, as you lay in the emergency room, the doctor informs you that you had swallowed metal shards of a pot scourer and that immediate treatment is required.
Now this may sound far fetched, but in fact is a reality. In 2015 a Brisbane woman suffered severe trauma to her throat after she swallowed part of a steel wool pot scourer that was served to her in a fried rice meal while she ate at a popular restaurant. After swallowing more than 4 centimetres of stainless steel wire served up in her meal she suffered severe oesophageal scratching which later became infected and eventually resulted in her losing her voice. The incident resulted in Brisbane City Council conducting an inspection of the business and issuing an immediate suspension of the restaurant’s food business licence, along with a hefty $23,000.00 fine, subsequently closing it down until council was satisfied the restaurant no longer posed a safety risk to the public.
A 2011 Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) International Food Safety Bulletin article states that metal fragments in food can cause mouth injuries, and if swallowed, can lodge in the stomach, small intestine or large intestine. Once inside they have the potential to perforate the wall of the digestive tract. A perforated stomach or intestine allows intestinal juices laden with bacteria to enter the peritoneal space causing an infection known as peritonitis. Untreated peritonitis is a serious condition, which if not treated will result in a painful death within a matter of days1 . HACCP is an internationally renowned certification body specialising in the certification of food safe equipment, amongst other facility and process assessments and certifications. Their risk management methodology is used globally by the food and related industries for the control of food safety hazards to acceptable risk levels.
Kitchen cleanliness and hygiene is an extreme priority in any commercial setting. As seen in the scenario above it can make or break your business. While chemical cleaners aid the removal of grime, elbow grease is the number one agent for a professional finish, the reason many operators still reach for the metal scourer to assist with the manual scrubbing process. Although metal scourers are highly abrasive, durable, easy to rinse and cost effective, they pose an obvious health risk. The consensus amongst food safety experts is that metal scourers should never be used in an area where food is handled. Metal scourers gradually break down during vigorous scrubbing, creating hundreds of fragments which can be one or two centimetres in length with sharp edges and ends that are often curved or hook-shaped finding their way into food.
According to HACCP International it’s not worth the risk as there are a number of HACCP certified food-safe metal scourer substitutes which are effective and have been closely scrutinised in relation to their risk profile. However they are not all created equal and some are more effective than others. It’s interesting to note that although the high performing alternatives may demand a slightly higher cost, their service life and benefits over the dangerous metal variety heavily outweigh any incremental expense in the long run. Metal scourers serve a purpose and have their place, but it’s not in a commercial kitchen or food service environment.
In 1958 3M turned restaurant kitchen cleaning upside down with the introduction of the world’s first scouring pad for pots and pans to the food service industry. Today we have reinvented the humble hand pad to respond to todays scouring needs with the first in a new generation of hand pads that will change the way you clean forever. From wiping off counters to scouring out greasy pots and pans, it’s time for a better safer clean with the Scotch-Brite™ HEX series of scourer pads and sponges featuring proprietary POWER DOT technology that make short work of your toughest cleaning chores and leave a brighter shine...designed especially for demanding commercial kitchen use.
Experience the POWER DOT Difference!
Unique power dot technology applied to three different scouring pads – to help you blast through tough baked-on or burnt-on grime faster and more effectively. This technology allows for quicker rinsing and minimises trapped food particles, keeping the scouring pads cleaner longer.
Kitchen clean up made easy! Choose from a range of unique cleaning tools, each designed to help you take on a different cleaning task.
Dual purpose cleaning tool features a raised power dot side engineered to scour away tough messes with minimal scratches and a dark blue side to remove fine food soil and give a spotless finish.
Dual purpose cleaning tool features a raised power dot side engineered to scour away tough messes with less visible scratches and a cellulose sponge side to easily absorbs spills.
Dual purpose scour pad features a raised power dot side engineered to cut through baked on food 5X faster and a green side to scour away fine food particles and grease leaving a shiny surface.
Features tough coiled fibres combined with a high-scouring, low-scratching abrasive. Ideal for pots and pans, stainless steel, counter tops and more.
A thick open mesh construction scouring pad for extra heavy-duty cleaning that rinses out easily. Made with tough fibres, abrasives and resin, this metal scourer alternative won’t splinter or rust.
The quality, durability and efficiency of Scotch-Brite™ Commercial Hand Pads and Scourers make them ideal for food service professionals. Explore our catalogue to view our range of Cleaning & Workplace Safety Solutions.
1. Metal Scourers: Effective but dangerous, Karen Constable, HACCP International, Food Safety Bulletin, Issue 3 2011.