How Often Should I Bathe A 2 Month Old Baby Handwashing, The Most Important Step For Food Safety – Food Safety For The ‘Average Joe’ – Article 2

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Handwashing, The Most Important Step For Food Safety – Food Safety For The ‘Average Joe’ – Article 2

Hand washing, the most important step for food safety.

Food Safety for the “Average Joe” – Article Two

In 2002, the Food Standards Agency conducted a survey of 1,000 food industry workers. Of these 39%…390 respondents…did not wash their hands after using the toilet. 53% did not wash their hands before preparing food. In an even greater breakdown, it was found (based on this and other surveys) that half of all men and a quarter of all women do not regularly wash their hands after visiting the toilet.

Some of the reasons people don’t wash their hands properly or at all are 1) Lack of time/being too busy (54%) 2) Forgetting/needing to remember (18%) and 3) Being distracted by other/competing tasks.

Hand washing is the simplest – and yet most neglected – disease prevention. Bacteria can survive on hands for up to three hours. Thorough hand washing with hot soapy water prevents the transfer of bacteria from hands to food. Some of the most dangerous foodborne illnesses can be transmitted through improper hand washing. E.coli 0157:H7, a deadly foodborne illness that killed scores of people in the Pacific Northwest in the 1990s, can be spread from person to person through improper or neglected hand washing.

Hands should be washed properly after actions such as using the toilet and before preparing food. It is interesting to note that the Washington State Food Code mandates that food workers wash their hands in the restroom after using equipment and then again in the kitchen before preparing food. One hand wash is for “demonstration” because the food handler re-contaminates their hands after touching doorknobs and the like because they were handled by people who didn’t wash. The second hand wash is the actual hand wash required for food safety.

To prevent illness, it is important to wash your hands properly. The “rinse and go” method that is all too common these days is just as ineffective at preventing foodborne bacteria as not washing at all.

How to wash your hands properly

o Use soap and warm running water.

o Make sure to wet your hands before applying soap

o Apply a large amount of soap to your hands

o Rub hands vigorously for 20 seconds (two rounds of “Happy Birthday”)

o Wash all surfaces, including:

on the backs of the hands

about the wrist

o between the fingers

by the fingertips

under the nails

o Rinse your hands thoroughly

o Dry your hands with a paper towel.

Many people think that a nail brush is necessary for washing their hands, so they will keep it near the sink. The problem is that the nail brush gets wet and stays that way. Moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria. If you don’t have a nail brush in the disinfectant solution, don’t leave the brush by the sink. It is possible to wash under the nails without using a nail brush.

No microbial or antibacterial soaps are necessary for proper hand washing.

From the New York Times:

Studies show that more than 70 percent of liquid hand soaps sold are now labeled as antibacterial, and Americans seem increasingly willing to pay more for them. But the truth is, most consumers don’t always get what they think they are. Over the years, studies have repeatedly shown that antibacterial soaps are no better than plain old soap and water.

One study published in The Journal of Community Health in 2003 followed adults in 238 New York City households for nearly a year.

Month after month, the researchers found no difference in the number of microbes that appeared on the hands of people who used either antibacterial soap or regular soap. At least four other large studies had similar findings.

In fact, the only question now is whether using antibacterial soaps may be doing more harm than good by creating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration convened experts to discuss, among other things, whether antibacterial products should be more tightly regulated because of the potential risks they pose.

BOTTOM LINE

Studies show that antibacterial soap is no more effective than regular soap.

With the recent popularity of waterless hand sanitizers, there is a misconception that this solution can replace hand washing. While it is good to have the solution on hand for situations where hand washing is not possible, such as when you are not at home and not near a hand washing facility, it is not a substitute for proper hand washing, nor has it been approved as a substitute by any environmental Health Agency in America. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that hand sanitizers not be used in place of soap and water, but only as a supplement, when it comes to food service good practice regulations.

Barbara Almanza, an associate professor at Purdue University who teaches safe hygiene practices for workers, recommends using soap and water to properly sanitize hands. Hand sanitizer cannot and should not replace proper cleaning procedures with soap and water.

The best defense against foodborne illness transmitted from person to person or to a loved one you are cooking for is proper hand washing.

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