Most people learn early in life from their parents to wash their hands when they are visibly dirty, before eating or after using the restroom. Why? Many parents will tell their children to wash their hands because they are dirty or because they have germs on them. Both are acceptable reasons for washing before eating food or touching food.
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Explore this issueFebruary/March 2006
For employees in the food-retail, food-service or food-processing industries, suddenly the choices made about handwashing affect not only the employee, but also other people: consumers, restaurant diners and the general public. The importance of handwashing among food workers is to prevent the spread of germs that can lead to foodborne illnesses and food poisoning.
An estimated 76 million cases of foodborne disease occur each year in the United States. Of those, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 25,000 require hospitalization and 5,000 deaths occur each year. Most symptoms of foodborne illness only last a day or two. Many cases go unreported, and that means the numbers from the CDC could actually be even higher.
Every time a food worker washes his or her hands, that worker could be reducing the number of people who get sick every year. Another reason to wash frequently is to prevent cross-contamination (the spread of germs from one place to another), which occurs most often with hand-to-hand or hand-to-surface contact.
Though it may seem daunting, you never can educate workers enough about the importance of proper handwashing.
When it comes to food service or food processing, it is important to know when it is crucial to wash hands. Employees should wash their hands in the following instances:| | | Next → | Single Page