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4 Hazards of Using a Food Processor

in Health & Safety on June 03, 2010 by Staff Writer

Using a food processor makes preparing food much more convenient, but you should be aware of
the potential hazards of the appliance so that taking the proper precautions to avoid an accident
becomes second nature. Here are some common hazards and how to avoid them:
1 Cut or Broken Fingers
Handling the blades or shredding discs of a food processor, particularly when the machine is still
plugged in, may result in cut or even broken fingers. To avoid this hazard, always unplug the
machine when not in use, especially when youre going to take it apart. Do not reach your fingers
into the unit even for a second to remove some food debris when the unit is plugged in; you could
accidentally hit the on button.
When cleaning the blades, handle each blade individually by the dull edge. If youd like to take extra
precaution, wear thick rubber gloves while rinsing and washing them under water. Use a thick
sponge and not your fingers to wash the blades.
2 Things Falling Into the Appliance
Leaving a food processor on your counter can leave it open to items falling into the unit. If you dont
notice that there are items in the unit before you turn it on, you can break both the appliance and
whatever item fell inside. To avoid this, never leave the appliance plugged in when not in use and
check the bowl carefully before you plug it in and turn it on. You can also store the unit in a cupboard
or more securely out of the way so nearby items dont fall in.
3 Appliance Running When Not Properly Secured
Turning on the appliance when all of the parts are not properly secured can result in flying food
particles and also more seriously, injured fingers and hands. To avoid this hazard, make sure your
unit has a safety switch, which will override the power button when the parts are not properly
fastened. If your unit is older and/or doesnt feature a safety switch, make sure that all of the parts
are secured tightly (tilt the unit gently sideways and see if anything rolls around) before plugging it in.
4 Electrocution
Your food processor most likely runs on electricity, but it also handles foods with moisture and
liquids. If you are not careful when you fill or empty the bowl and if you do not properly clean and dry
the unit after each use, water can accumulate on the power cord and cause an electric shock when
plugged in. Likewise, if you do not properly dry your hands before plugging and unplugging the unit,
you could get an electric shock.
Practice proper safety precautions when using a food processor and youll be more likely to avoid
potentially serious hazards of improper use of this appliance. In addition to these basic tips, dont
forget to supervise all children using the appliance and never let very young children near the
appliance at all.


PTFE Flouropolymer Adhesive & *PTFE Flouropolymer Cover MUST BE

REPLACED when heating element has burned through the *PTFE Flouropolymer.
Replacement *PTFE Flouropolymer ADHESIVE (BOTTOM *PTFE Flouropolymer)
MUST ALWAYS extend 1/2" past the machine on both ends & then be bent down. This
is the only barrierberween the metal machine & metal heating element. Heating
element will break if instruction is not followed.
This is why you should ALWAYS purchase a spare parts kit for your sealer at the time of
Each kit contains: 2 replacement nichrome elements and 2 replacement *PTFE
Flouropolymer covers. When used properly, impulse sealers will seal 3,500-5,000
times before the element (and adhesive *PTFE Flouropolymer and *PTFE
Flouropolymer cover) needs to be replaced.

Vacuum Packaging is the method that we are most familiar with. It is reducing the
amount of air from a package by pulling a vacuum and hermetically sealing it. By
removing the air, you have removed the oxygen. The packaging material presents a
barrier to the passage of gases and moisture. Examples are fresh meat (boxed beef
and pork), lunch meats and sausage.

How to Use a Refractometer

A refractometer is used to determine a concentration of a particular substance within a given solution. It
operates based on the principle of refraction. When rays of light pass from one medium into another, they
are bent either toward or away from a normal line between the two media. The angle between the normal
ray and the incident ray is called the angle of incidence. The angle between the normal ray and the
refracted ray is called the angle of refraction. The Figure below demonstrates this using a pencil resting in
a container of water. As you can see, the light ray passes from the air into the water and is bent toward
the normal ray or the angle of incidence.

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The angle of refraction is related to an index value called the index of refraction. Each compound has a
specific index of refraction. The angle of refraction is dependent on the composition of the media and on
the temperature. This composition dependency is what makes refractometers so useful. As the
concentration of a particular compound in a solution increases, so does the degree to which the light is
bent. Also, it is important to determine the temperature of the testing environment since temperature
affects the angle of refraction.
As an example, refractive light can be used to determine the sodium chloride (NaCl) concentration/salinity
in a brine solution. For each percent salinity value, there is a corresponding angle of refraction. That angle
of refraction is converted to percent salinity. This percentage is the concentration of NaCl in the brine
solution. To make the conversion easier, refractometers are available with scales that are calibrated to
read the desired value, in this case, percent salinity.

Types of Refractometers
Handheld Analog Refractometer With an analog refractometer, the sample is place on a cover
plate and a prism and then held to the light to view the scale inside the meter.
Handheld Digital Refractometer Digital refractometers require a drop of the tested solution to be
placed in a well. That well is illuminated by a light source, usually an LED light and the meter interprets
the light transmission into refractive index or whatever unit of measure the instrument is programmed to
Abbe (Laboratory) Refractometer Abbe Refractometers are bench-top meters that look similar to
a microscope which provide highly precise measurements of refractive index.
Refractometers are available with a variety of scales:

Salinity Measures sodium chloride solutions

Brix Measures percent sucrose. Used in the food and beverage industry for quality control
Coolant Freezing Point Determines the effectiveness of ethylene glycol and propylene glycol

Clinical: Measures Serum albumen and urine-specific gravity (e.g. to test for urine drug

sample tampering)
Specific Gravity Measures density of a liquid in relation to the density of water, which has a
specific gravity of 1.

Calibration and Use of Analog Refractometers


Calibrate the refractometer with a standard solution before use. Since the reading will be
affected by temperature changes, it is best to calibrate at the temperature of the test
environment. If this is not possible, correction charts may be used. Some refractometers have
automatic temperature correction (ATC), a feature that allows the instrument to automatically
correct for temperature differences.


Place a small amount of liquid (usually 25 drops) on the prism and secure the cover plate.
This will evenly distribute the liquid on the prism.
Point the prism end of the refractometer toward a light source and focus the eyepiece until the
scale is clearly visible.
Read the scale value at the point where the dark and light portions meet. Below is an example
of a salinity scale as seen through the eyepiece:

Commonly Asked Questions

Q. I need to test the concentration of lubricating oil but I have a Brix
refractometer. Can I use it?
AYes, you can use it if the refractive range is similar. In this case, you need to prepare known samples of
the lubricating oil and determine the corresponding Brix values. From this data, a chart can be created to
convert from the Brix value to the percent oil value.
Q How do I maintain a refractometer?
ARefractometers require very little maintenance. When the measurement is complete, wipe the prism
with a soft lens tissue. When the instrument is not in use, keep the cover closed to avoid scratching the

Sources for More Information

Reichert Refractometer Reference Guide
Reichert Technical Bulletin Determining Percent Concentration of Samples
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