Food and beverages heated above 140°F can cause burns. Many fast food restaurants serve coffee that is maintained between 180°F and 190°F, and convenience stores and coffee shops serve food, such as soups or sauces, which may be heated to temperatures even higher. Lawsuits have been filed against fast food restaurants alleging injuries that were caused by hot beverages spilling from containers. Whether or not these lawsuits are seen as frivolous, it's important to note that the temperatures involved can indeed cause serious burns. When choosing plastic container for food service businesses, it's very important to choose those that will reliably avoid spills and burns.
Spills can be merely inconvenient, causing a mess or loss of ingredients, or they can be much more serious if they cause a burn.
Burns can be caused by direct contact with hot food, hot liquids, or steam. A burn caused by hot liquid or steam is called a scald.
Burns are classified according to severity. First-degree burns affect the top surface of the skin. Second-degree burns go deeper, but do not penetrate through the bottom layer of the skin. And third degree burns penetrate the skin entirely, sometimes affecting the muscle, bone and tissue below, and are the most severe type of burn.
Boiling water or steam can quickly cause third-degree burns. Hot, fatty foods, or foods containing oil, are often prepared at temperatures higher than the boiling point of water, and can be even more dangerous with respect to causing burns.
It is not necessary for hot items to come into direct contact with the skin to cause a burn. Boiling liquids, for example, can soak clothing, which can then hold the trapped heat against the skin long enough to cause a serious burn.
For safety, plastic container used in the food service industry can be designed to minimize spills and prevent burns. Therefore, for business owners, it is important to choose and use high quality or appropriate plastic containers to serve customers, so as to reduce the risks of spills or burns.