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
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