It is well known that poor personal hygiene is a leading cause of foodborne illness, and an important component of good personal hygiene is hand washing.
Hand hygiene is the single most important means of preventing the spread of infection. The main purpose of hand hygiene is to remove micro-organisms or germs, which can be transferred on to food and cause illness.
Contamination of hands by germs occurs in three main ways:
When should you practise hand hygiene?
Hands should be washed and dried after every event where contamination on hands that could lead to potential cross-contamination of food has occurred. Cross-contamination occurs when food handlers with dirty or unhygienic hands touch clean food and utensils leaving germs on those items.
Hand hygiene must take place after the following activities:
How do you wash your hands?
Extra time spent washing hands is important in reducing the transmission of bacteria to food. The recommended time frame of washing hands with soap and warm water is 20 seconds. Using a nailbrush to clean under each nail is recommended when washing hands at the start of work, after using the toilet and whenever significant debris that can contaminate food accumulates under nails.