Why is handwashing important for food handlers?
Hand sinks have transcendental importance in maintaining a clean and de-focused area in the foodservice industry.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that 40 percent of all foodborne illness is the result of poor hand-washing habits by workers and cross-contamination from touching the faucets or other surfaces that may not be clean, this is a fact to consider.
Proper hand-washing is a combination of the duration and type of scrubbing, proper water temperature, and the use of soap. It’s a matter of teaching workers the right way to do it and then, manage them to make sure they do it right.
Where are food workers allowed to wash their hands?
In a professional kitchen, the only place where workers can wash their hands is in the hand sink, it is absolutely against health codes to wash your hands in the food sinks, or wash food in the hand sinks.
Think about it, if you go to a restaurant to eat, would you like to know that kitchen workers wash their hands in the same place where they wash the instruments they use to prepare your food? that would not be a pleasant method.
The sinks designed to wash utensils are designed in terms of size, placement and shape for that particular purpose, the preparation tables in the kitchen can also include a sink to rinse utensils easily, to avoid cross-contamination in food.
If your sink has a tap, then you must have disposable towels within reach so that when you finish washing your hands you can take a towel and turn off the tap.
If you wash your hands in a work table sink or traditional sink when you touch the faucet to open or close the passage of water, you are already contaminating your hands, this is another reason why automatic sinks or knee sinks are used where you don’t have to touch anything after washing your hands.
Where should a sink be located in the kitchen?
A hand sink should be located within 15 feet (in a straight line) of any food preparation area, one hand sink is required for every five employees or every 300 square feet of workspace and one hand sink is required for every preparation and cooking area.
Ideally, place you should a hand sink near the entrance/exit door in the kitchen and each preparation area.
What items are required at a hand wash sink?
According to the FDA (Department of Food and Drug Administration) in its Sec. 112,130, apart from water work personnel must be provided with soap and adequate drying devices (such as single service towels, sanitary towel service, or electric hand dryers).
It is also stipulated in this code that you cannot use antiseptic soaps as a soap substitute.
What you should look for in a basic hand sink selection?
• Select a manufacturer with an established food service reputation.
• Use Type 304 stainless steel, shaped for enhanced strength and proper drainage.
• Consider using a “knee” hand sink where you don’t have to use your hands to open and close the faucet.
• Select a deeper sink bowl for better drainage, with splash guards to prevent cross-contamination.
• Select a manufacturer with easy access to technical service in your area.
• Seamless construction will result in better hygiene and more effective sanitizing.
• Contemplate antimicrobial surfaces or a highly polished finish.
• It is better to choose a sink made of stainless steel, which is easy to clean and long-lasting. Commonly manufacturers use two types of stainless steel, known as Type 430 and Type 304. Both are approved for foodservice use, but Type 304 is considered more durable because it contains a percentage of nickel in its composition.
How to wash your hands properly
• Wet your hands under warm running water and add soap.
• Rub your hands and include your wrists too.
• Wash the back of both hands, including the fingers.
• Interlock your fingers and rub again.
• Rub around the thumbs and the fingertips.
• Rinse your hands and dry thoroughly.
• If you use faucets with a tap it is possible that while you wash your hands you waste a lot of water, I recommend using automatic faucets or knee sinks, where you can have better control of the amount of water to use.
Can you wash your hands too much?
Always remember to not be excessive in whatever it is you do. Too much washing can waste too much water, also too much soap can irritate your skin, not washing enough leads to infection.
So just be balanced, wash your hands whenever necessary as seen in this topic.