People are the major cause of foodborne illness. Good personal hygiene is crucial to prevent the spread of foodborne illness. The single most important action you can take to prevent the spread of a foodborne illness is WASH YOUR HANDS!
When hand washing wet your hands with hot water (at least a 100°F.), apply hand soap and lather vigorously between fingers and up to the elbows for least 20 seconds and then dry with a single use towel or air dryer.
Required items for hand washing: Soap, hot water, & paper towels.
(A Hand sanitizer is not recommended).
Always wash your hands in a dedicated hand-washing sink, never in a food preparation or a 3-compartment sink.
Always wash your hands after touching exposed body parts (face), after using the restroom, after coughing and sneezing, after smoking, eating and drinking, after handling trash or soiled equipment, when switching from raw meats to cooked, after clearing tables, after touching clothing or aprons, when first reporting to work, and when otherwise contaminating hands.
Keep fingernails short and clean. Avoid wearing false fingernails. Do not wear nail polish. Cover cuts and sores with clean water resistant bandages.
Remember, there is NO BARE HAND CONTACT with ready to eat foods; therefore you must use tongs or gloves when handling ready to eat foods. When wearing plastic gloves, treat gloves as bare hands. When the gloves become contaminated, discard them, wash your hands, and put a new pair of gloves on (never use gloves in place of handwashing). Foodhandlers should change their gloves whenever they become dirty or torn, before beginning a different task, at least every 4 hours during continual use (of course more often when necessary)
For handwashing, I've used the old 'happy birthday' method... sing happy birthday to yourself twice while washing hands to approximate the correct amount of time. :)
I wash my hands about every 10 minutes when prepping food. Thinking about something similar to this, so I don't have to touch the faucet handles with dirty hands.
I am definitely a frequent handwasher while in the kitchen and soap is a must everytime.
However, I saw a local news report a few months ago that really shed some new light on handwashing.
The report was on the effectiveness of anti-bacterial soaps. To test the soaps, they made a bacterial soup for the test personell to dip their hands in. Then the testees:twisted: washed their hands, one with regular soap, one with anti bacterial soap, one without soap (just scrubbing and water) and one didn't wash at all.
After washing, they all had their hands swabbed, and the swabs were used to start cultures. After some length of incubation the cultures were shown on TV as to the effectiveness of the soaps.
Anti-bacterial soap, regular soap and water only had only trace amounts of cooties growing in their petrie dishes. Basically the results were identical.
The lesson I took from it was that the scrubbing and thorough rinsing were really where the cleaning took place. Don't think that just because you used a squirt of soap that you can rush things and still get your hands clean.
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