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HAND WASHING & HAND HYGIENE
Written by Randy P. Umali NSF HACCP Manager and National Sales Manager, NCH Food Safety
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the disruption in the supply chains of the food industry with raw materials, ingredients, and maintenance materials for cleaning and sanitation being unavailable or in short supply. In the rush to identify new suppliers, food businesses are faced with the challenge of keeping the integrity of the supply chain, thereby opening new opportunities for food fraud.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA cite five highly infective pathogens that can easily be transmitted by food workers and cause severe illness. These five foodborne pathogens, also known as the ‘Big 5,’ include Norovirus, the Hepatitis A virus, Salmonella Typhi, Shigella spp., and Escherichia coli (E.coli) O157:H7 or other Enterohemorrhagic or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli. Other, less infectious pathogens that can also be transmitted by food employees to consumers through contaminated food include Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella spp., and Streptococcus pyogenes.
HAND WASHING & HAND HYGIENE
(NCH Food Safety HAND GUARD)
Food safety is important for healthy diet and food security. Remember that safe food is healthy. When preparing food, follow food hygiene practices to avoid contamination. Washing your hands properly is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent and control the spread of many illnesses. Good hand hygiene will reduce the risk of things like flu, food poisoning and healthcare associated infections being passed from person to person.
When you need to wash your hands
Hands normally carry lots of germs and should be washed:
• after visiting the toilet
• before handling food
• when visibly dirty
• after coughing or sneezing into your hands
• after touching anything that may contaminate your hands
Washing your hands regularly will help to stop the coronavirus from spreading. It is important to wash your hands properly. Make sure that you wash both your hands including the tips of your fingers, the palms of your hands and thumbs.
The steps below explain how to wash your hands properly:
• wet hands with water
• apply enough soap to cover all surfaces of hand
• rub hands palm to palm
• right palm over back of left hand with interlaced fingers and vice versa
• palm to palm with fingers interlaced
• back 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 hands thoroughly with a single use towel
• use towel to turn off tap
(NCH Food Safety SAFE HANDS)
While handwashing with soap and water is a common practice among restaurant workers, alcohol-based hand sanitizers also provide food handlers with convenient hygiene when soap and water are not readily available. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can also be used as part of an overall hand hygiene regimen following handwashing. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are effective antimicrobials that reduce the spread of foodborne disease-causing microorganisms on the skin.
Hand sanitizers are not intended to replace handwashing in food production and retail settings. Instead, hand sanitizers may be used in addition to or in combination with proper handwashing. CDC recommends that everyone wash their hands with plain soap and water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be used if plain soap and water are not available.
For more information on Food Safety you may visit us at https://www.nchasia.com/en-ph/products/food-safety
1. FAO/WHO. 2010. FAO/WHO framework for developing national food safety emergency response plans https://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/emergency_response/en/
2. WHO. 2020. Modes of transmission of virus causing COVID-19: implications for IPC precaution recommendations, Scientific brief. https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/modes-of-transmission-of-virus-causing-covid-19-implications-for-ipc-precaution-recommendations
SOURCE: Adapted from the 2005 FDA Food Code and its Supplement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration
(FDA 2005 Food Code)