Save Lives–It's In Your Hands

Uncertainty remains on the menu of restaurants, and food establishments across the country as COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant continue to rise. With local government’s guidance for restaurants in flux and inconsistent protocols enforced, now more than ever, restaurant workers need to remain diligent in hand hygiene efforts.

A recent study found that poor personal hygiene of food workers is a contributing factor in up to 38% of foodborne illness outbreaks. Additionally, in outbreaks caused by food worker contamination, 89% of the featured pathogens were transferred to food by workers’ hands.1 Another study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that food workers carried out about nine activities an hour that should have involved handwashing. Only 27% of workers washed their hands after these activities! Only one in four washed their hands after preparing raw animal products or handling dirty equipment, and just one in 10 workers washed their hands after touching their face or body.

 

HAND HYGIENE BY THE NUMBERS

Percentage of outbreaks in which poor personal hygiene of food workers was a contributing factor

Percentage of outbreaks in which pathogens were transferred to food by workers’ hands1

Percenage of times food workers actually washed their hands prior to activities requiring handwashing2

Handwashing is one of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommended food safety and prevention methods as it can significantly reduce the transmission of pathogens from hands to food and other objects. The FDA’s Food Code indicates that proper handwashing should take at least 20 seconds and include running warm water, soap, friction between the hands and fingers for 10 to 15 seconds, and rinsing and drying with clean towels or hot air.

The FDA advises that hands be washed before preparing food, using gloves during food contact and that hands are washed after:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Using tobacco
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Using tissues
  • Preparing raw animal products
  • Handling dirty equipment
  • Touching the body/face
  • Using the bathroom

When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers or antibacterial wipes are effective and convenient alternatives. The American Cleaning Institute offers the following guidelines for using wipes:

  • Wipe all areas of hands until they are visibly clean
  • Use one or more wipes and dispose of in an appropriate trash container
  • Let hands air dry
  • Always read and follow instructions on all products before using
  • Avoid contact with eyes

The evidence and guidance are clear: hand hygiene is a must for restaurant and food workers to reduce foodborne illness and to keep customers and staff safe and protected.

Sani Professional® Hands Instant Sanitizing Wipes:

  • Kills 99.99% of germs on hands
  • Proven 99.99% effective in 15 seconds against top foodborne pathogens*
  • Studies prove that hand wipes are more effective than gels at removing dirt and soil from hands*
  • Approved and recommended for use prior to handling, preparing or eating food
  • NSF certified
  • FDA food code compliant
  • Ideal when soap and water are not available
Reduce the Spread of Germs: Sanitize Hands
These findings, along with evidence that poor personal hygiene frequently contributes to foodborne-illness outbreaks, indicate that improvement of food workers' hygiene practices is needed. Download our handy infographic: “10 Personal Hygiene Fundamentals”