You know handwashing is the top way to reduce the spread of germs, whether you’re working in a foodservice establishment, office, or just within your home or family. Good personal hygiene practices are vital for reducing the risk of foodborne illness in restaurants. They can also help prevent the spread of other diseases including the cold, flu and Norovirus. While regular handwashing for 20 seconds using soap is vital for everyone, restaurant workers need to take extra precautions in order to prevent foreign germs from entering the food.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends the following handwashing procedure for foodservice employees:
- Moisten hands with hot water and apply hand soap.
- Vigorously rub hands together scrubbing between your fingers, under your fingernails, your forearms, and the back of your hands. You must continue scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. It is the hand soap combined with the scrubbing action that removes the dirt and germs from your hands.
- Completely rinse your hands under running water and dry them with a disposable paper towel. Use your paper towel to turn off the faucet if it is not automatic.
You can use a hand and nail brush to help with the scrubbing and to get even farther under your nails and into crevices. Note that the tips recommend cleaning your forearms as well, not just your hands.
Foodservice workers need to be aware of what they are touching at all times. This way, they will know when their hands might be contaminated so they can wash them. You should always wash hands:
- When you first arrive at work;
- Prior to handling food, utensils, and single service articles;
- Before putting on gloves to handle ready-to-eat foods and between glove changes.
- Before and after handling or touching any raw foods such as raw meats, chicken, and eggs.
- After using the bathroom;
- After touching any part of your body or uniform;
- After handling dirty equipment, dishes or utensils;
- After taking a break;
- After any other activity that may contaminate your hands such as washing dishes, sweeping the floor, taking out the trash, eating or drinking, coughing, or sneezing.
You must wash your hands in specifically designated hand sinks. The sinks used to wash dishes or prepare food are not approved for handwashing as they might contain bacteria that can be transferred into food, causing foodborne illnesses.
FDA Food Safety Manual