Need a Hand With That? Take Both, and Scrub Well
WebMD News Archive
Keeping employees' hands clean is a cottage industry all its own; a handful
of vendors at the food processors' meeting touted and hawked various high-tech
devices to clean workers' hands -- and verify that the employees had done their
In various handwashing outreaches, government officials have also targeted
the general public. Attention-grabbing programs have included a Pennsylvania
county's campaign which used bathroom posters that parodied literary classics,
and a West Virginia school initiative that may have been so health-promoting it
improved attendance among youngsters.
Before we wash our hands of this affair, a few final pointers. Remember to
wash before, during, and after handling food. You should also wash after
handling any animal and after using the bathroom. And if you wash, don't just
soap up with warm water -- make sure you scrub. A government consumer guide
recommends that you scrub for 20 seconds, or the length of a little tune you
can hum to yourself.
- When the FDA reviewed 81 foodborne illness outbreaks since 1975, the agency
found that food worker illness was a factor in almost all of the cases. In 35
of the outbreaks, hand contact was identified as a specific contributor.
- Food preparation specialists recently met to test and demonstrate effective
methods of hand cleaning. Although clean hands are a special concern to these
people, even they learned their methods can fall short of completely cleansed
hands. Many are returning to their workplaces to implement more thorough
- In general, people should wash their hands before, during, and after
handling food, as well as after using the bathroom or handling animals. It's
also important to scrub for at least 20 seconds during each handwashing.