Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

STOP - THINK - WASH: How we can stop hands from spreading germs

03.03.2005


The importance of hand-washing



IFST Advisory Statement for Foodlink Food Safety Week 2005

The Institute of Food Science & Technology, through its Public Affairs and Technical & Legislative Committees, has authorised this Advisory Statement, dated 24 March 2005, as an IFST contribution to the 13th Foodlink National Food Safety Week, which runs from 13-19 June 2005, organised by Foodlink.


Summary

Much scientific effort goes into making food as safe as possible up to the point of purchase. Thereafter, as consumers, or as preparers of food for others, it is literally “in our hands” to keep it safe. There are many important things that we should do and precautions that we should take. Germs are everywhere and our hands are one of the main ways in which they can be transmitted to food or to kitchen surfaces, which can then be a source of contamination and sickness. When preparing food we can help to prevent cross-contamination by washing our hands (and work surfaces) thoroughly and frequently.

Introduction

  • A great deal of effort to make food as safe as possible is devoted by
  • scientists and technologists in food manufacture and retailing, applying existing knowledge to the manufacture and sale of safe foods
  • enforcement officers, including food scientists and technologists, monitoring food manufacturers, caterers and retailers to make sure that the food provided complies with legal, safety and other requirements
  • researchers continually seeking new knowledge about all aspects of food safety

So, to build on this:

  • How can we, as consumers, keep that food safe once it is purchased?
  • And how can we ensure the safety of dishes that we prepare "from scratch" in the home?
  • What practices and precautions can we adopt to prevent food poisoning organisms contaminating and multiplying in our food?

There are several very important practices we can follow and precautions we can take. Here we offer advice on the importance of thoroughly and frequently washing our hands and food contact surfaces.

We are all consumers, but some of us work in food manufacture, in food retailing and in catering, and of course the hand-washing advice is just as important to follow in our work.

First we need to understand the sources of food poisoning micro-organisms (the term often used is "germs" but scientists refer to "pathogens"). They are too small to be seen with the naked eye, and exist harmlessly in many natural environments, for example farmyards and farm animals, poultry and wild birds and on fields that are fertilised with farmyard manure. Animals, and people suffering from food poisoning, can also shed large numbers of these micro-organisms, either through sickness or diarrhoea. Some are carried normally by healthy people (hence the need for hand-washing - see below).

Insects, rodents and other pests (’vermin’) as well as domestic pets can also harbour pathogens and transfer them from one place to another.

Pathogens can contaminate food; some can multiply at an enormous rate, given favourable conditions, especially of moisture and warmth; and can survive if not properly heated to destroy them.

So "keeping it safe" means measures to

  • prevent contamination,
  • prevent multiplication and
  • prevent survival.

We need to remember sources of contamination, and whenever we come in contact with any of them we need to Stop ¯ Think ¯ and Wash!

Wash hands (and surfaces) thoroughly and frequently

In safety terms, cross-contamination means the transfer of pathogens from one food to another, either directly or indirectly. Our hands and kitchen surfaces are among the main potential causes of direct contamination of foods with pathogens.

We need to wash our hands thoroughly and frequently, before handling food, immediately after handling (for example) raw meat or raw poultry or raw vegetables, and immediately after going to the toilet. Hand-washing should be in hot soapy water, with particular attention to nails, fingertips, between fingers and backs of hands too. Moisten the hands, apply soap, and rub hands together for about 20 seconds before rinsing thoroughly in clean water (young children might be encouraged to recite the whole of "Three Blind Mice" while hand-washing, to judge the time needed).

While preparing foods, avoid touching cats, dogs or other pets, and avoid touching your mouth, nose or hair; but if you accidentally do, Stop – Think – and immediately Wash your hands thoroughly before continuing.

It is also important to dry hands thoroughly after washing, using clean disposable paper towels, not a repeatedly-used cloth.

……and a reminder of the other important safety measures we should take

This Advisory paper is about the importance of hand-washing; but it would be incomplete without reminding ourselves of the range of important measures that make up the "ring of safety" around foods in the home.

1. wash hands and surfaces thoroughly and frequently;

2. prevent cross-contamination of ready-to-eat foods;

3. cook foods properly, to reach at least 70°C at the centre for 2 minutes;

4. store foods properly; keep hot foods hot (above 63°C) and cold foods cold (below 5°C);

5. pay strict attention to storage instructions, and to "use by" dates where these are given on the pack.

Ralph Blanchfield | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ifst.org/hottop43.htm

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>