While you may not think of the kitchen hardware your local mom and pop restaurant uses as important to your health, it turns out, it is.
Think about the people working in the kitchen. They are working with food items, them coming out into the dining area and interacting with all the customers. Those customers have come into the restaurant from all sorts of places and could well be carrying any number of bacteria on, or in, their person. If they cough or sneeze on their plate and the server picks it up, they have also picked up those germs.
Additionally, food borne bacteria like Listeria, that makes 3000 people sick a year, killing about 500 of them, can also be spreading from the kitchen to the tables, and on to the customers as the server picks up food items and moves them around.
This only gets compounded when you think of the door that opens and closes from the kitchen to the dining area. Each time someone's hand is on that door, some of the bacteria they may have picked up will be left behind, waiting for the next person to come through in order to hitch a ride.
By the end of the night, the whole restaurant may be a bacteria infested nightmare. It almost makes you leery to go out to eat! But there are some studies that say the push plates these restaurants use on their doors can make all the difference in the world. If you think back, there was a time when all restaurants had swinging doors with pushplates that would flap back and forth as people went in and out of the kitchen. Many kitchens still have them, and it turns out, the right kind of push plate is not friendly to bacteria. Copper pushplates are the answer.
Studies have shown that copper pushplates and bacteria do not get along well. Once the bacteria are on the push plates, the copper reacts with the organism, weakening it, and substantially shortening its lifespan. In many cases the bacteria that have been left on copper push plates will die within an hour. While there are other push plates out there, the bacteria can last longer on the materials those other pushplates are made of. Unfortunately, most restaurants these days use stainless steel push plates, because they're cheaper and they did not think of any possible medical repercussions to this decision. What they don't know is that bacteria can last three days or more on stainless steel push plates.
In restaurants that no longer have the swinging doors, they may rely on traditional doors to do their job. These doors are also a threat, because just as the swinging doors saw bacteria stack up on the push plates, regular doorknobs are the bacteria-breeding zones in this case. The good news is the same thing that works for pushplates will also work for doorknobs. Replacing the standard doorknobs with knobs that are made of copper will substantially lower the chances that those bacteria are being passed on from hand to hand.
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