Food Safety Hand Washing

Food Safety Hand Washing

wash hands

Hand washing is vital in preventing contamination of food by food handlers. Harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus and viruses present on hands of food workers are removed by proper hand washing techniques. Hands should be washed as often as necessary and always:

  • Before starting work
  • Before handling cooked or ready-to-eat food
  • After handling or preparing raw food
  • After handling waste
  • After cleaning duties
  • After using the toilet
  • After blowing nose, sneezing or coughing
  • After eating drinking or smoking
  • After handling money

Proper hand washing is extremely important, whether using gloves or not. If using gloves, hand washing should be carried out before putting gloves on, between glove changes and after gloves are removed. When wearing gloves for a prolonged period of time, without frequent changing and hand washing, bacteria on the skin rapidly multiply due to the warm, moist environment created by the gloves. If the gloves tear, or are removed and food is handled without hand washing, a high number of bacteria can be transferred to the food.

Hands should be washed for at least 10-15 seconds as follows:

  • Wet hands under warm running water
  • Use enough soap to form a good lather
  • Rub all parts of hands with soap and water
  • Lather for at least 10-15 seconds, vigorously and thoroughly rubbing all hand surfaces, including the fingertips and thumbs
  • Rinse hands thoroughly with running water
  • Dry hands thoroughly

Temperature of the water is not as important as the technique that is used.

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