Studies reveal that the spread of germs from the hands of food workers to food is an important cause of foodborne illness outbreaks in restaurants. It accounts for 89% of outbreaks in which food was contaminated by food workers.
Research also shows that a total of 10 million bacteria would comfortably occupy something as small as the head of a pin. Given the right conditions (some heat and moisture from the air), this bacteria can double every 20 minutes, and although we are unable to see bacteria, the fact remains that our hands are responsible for spreading it.
While there are many occasions where food can become contaminated, 40% of all food-borne illness outbreaks are a direct result of hand cross contamination. Proper hand washing can reduce germs on workers’ hands and the spread of germs from hands to food and from food to other people.
“Current conditions have changed our daily lives in a short period of time. Now, more than ever we all want to know that we are doing everything we can to keep ourselves and our colleagues and visitors safe and well. We want to know that the people we are in contact with have washed their hands properly and that the places we go are as clean and as hygienic as possible, says Kimberly-Clark Professional.
How often should food workers wash their hands?
However, hand washing may not be enough to stop the spread of germs from hands to food in all circumstances. So the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends use of barriers such as gloves to further curb the spread of germs. But, research shows that while maintaining hand hygiene is ideal in facilities such as food service, it is not always followed. In fact, most of the food service workers are not even well acquainted with the proper process of handwashing.
A guide to hand hygiene by Kimberly Clark Professional
Kimberly Clark Professional recommends the following steps for hand washing and sanitation:
-Wet hands with water.
-Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces.
-Rub hands palm to palm - right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers and vice versa. Palm to palm with fingers interlaced. Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked.
-Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa. Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa.
-Rinse hands with water.
-Dry thoroughly with a single-use towel.
-Use a towel to turn off the faucet.
Your hands are now safe!
-Dispense one dose of hand sanitizer into your cupped hands, covering all surfaces.
-Rub hands to palm - right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers and vice versa, palm to palm with fingers interlaced, backs of fingers to opposing palm with fingers interlocked, rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa. Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa.
Once dry, your hands are safe!