to Overcoming Underwashing
The chain of cleanliness risk factors is led by poor handwashing. It is the #1 cited element in outbreak investigations. The risk of the unwashed hand has largely gone unaddressed because of the lack of standards and meaningful measurement tools. New monitoring technologies are proving to be game changers. Verified clean hands, ServeReady® Hands, protect brands and are emerging as a customer-valued reason to return - a new corporate asset.
Managing risk is the primary driver in handwashing enhancement initiatives. It defines handwashing protocols. Process control is a minimum outcome. Risk assessment requires collaboration as the microbiologically savvy professional helps balance the technical severity of risk with the C-Suite's view of probability. Once the handwashing process is agreed, future changes in supplies and equipment must be made in the context of risk, avoiding the maxi-expenses of an outbreak or recall frequently caused by a string of mini cost-cutting measures which erode compliance behaviors.Learn More on Assessing Risk
Resources: Understanding Risks
Set Safe Level Standards
Standards provide the language for inter-departmental collaboration in agreeing the goals for training as well as customer and brand protection. This step translates the management's tolerance for risk into traceable performance numbers.Learn More on Setting Safe Levels
Train & Motivate
Training must be preceded by education, covering the "Why" of handwashing. This is key in engaging the food handling staff in the professionalization process. Workers must want to wash their hands if the gains from the training are to be sustained. Make it personal and visual.Learn More on Training & Motivating
Resources on Training & Motivating
Verification closes the loop by reporting policy-based performance. What gets measured and acknowledged gets done. Rewarding the good and disciplining the less-than acceptable behaviors are key to sustainability.
A Successful Monitoring Plan…
Looks a lot like a business plan or a document seeking funding for a new business. A statement of values sets the direction for the objectives, budgets, team and timetable.
The strategy and tactics are collaboratively agreed. Shared handwashing data becomes the common language to sustain this marker of brand protection.
for a Successful Monitoring Plan
Continuous improvement in handwashing is the best standard in lowering the risk of brand-damaging outbreaks. Solid, reliable data becomes the foundation on which to build years of success. This calls for a long-term alignment of resources, hence a strategic view.Learn More about Monitoring
for a Successful Monitoring Program
A menu of resources is available to address specific issues and assist in the implementation and verification stages. Data quickly becomes the common language for project-critical departmental collaboration.Resources for Monitoring
The HandsOn™ System for
ServeReady® Hands & TouchReady® Surfaces
The HandsOn™ System is a five step risk-based program to overcome the underwashing of hands and the surfaces most likely to contaminate those hands. It is a roadmap to assess current risks, set standards and implement integrated best practices. Its design is to motivate, control and sustain better behaviors. HandsOn is HACCP for hands executed for continuous improvement.
Leadership Forum Members
A recommendation of “No Action” at the CFP (Conference for Food Protection) can be viewed as a strike out and to continue the baseball metaphor, Handwashing For Life went 0 for 7 on the issues submitted in 2014. We thought at least one would be accepted but all were presented as a foundation for 2016. In that context our efforts were well received and rewarded with calls to continue our quest for codifying hand hygiene innovations. Lively discussion demonstrated the need for changes but the system favors the status quo.
Non-voting Council Members, the FDA and CDC, sharply tilt the decision making power. A timely sound-bite can end Council discussion. Who of the regulatory Council Members are willing to vote against the non-voting regulatory Members?
Here is our interpretation of what happened, why and how each sets up for 2016.
(Submitted by a former State Regulator after reading this blog series in preparation for the 2014 biennial Conference For Food Protection (CFP))
The ‘prescriptive' nature of the food code is now being understood by local health officials as: 'The health authority prescribes how a task is done and the operator is responsible to do the task as prescribed.' This interpretation, which differs from the traditional approach of Food Code which defined the minimum standard needed and operators were encouraged to innovate to complete the task at a standard that exceeded the minimum required by regulation.
How the operator-interpreted code blurs food safety responsibility.
Health authorities help operators prepare and serve safe food. These agencies take their guidance from the FDA's written Model Food Code which sets out minimum standards in a 600+ page tome.
Every successive edition of the Code becomes more prescriptive, leaving less choice available for the operator. This dangerously dilute's the operator's commitment to the standards of safe food as he realizes he's not fully in charge of food safety. He interprets regulatory's reduction of choice as a shift in responsibility. Health authorities take over by virtue of them no longer allowing the operator to choose the method of compliance that works best for them - even when the solution is superior to the Code's "prescription".
“… staff told to wash their hands more often.”
After the closing of another world class restaurant due to a norovirus outbreak, a piece of world class food safety advice was passed along by London's health inspectors as reported in The Guardian newspaper: “Environmental health officers have told staff at the two Michelin star restaurant to wash their hands more often, an embarrassing order for those preparing evening starters beginning at £12 and main courses ranging up to £42.”
Risk vs. Inspection
[Notes for those interested in enhancing the Model Food Code via the Conference For Food Protection (CFP) process.]
Unintended consequences are many as the FDA's Model Food Code strives to further protect public health. The operators have prime accountability for serving safe food and the more than 30,000 health inspectors look to help them. Both have the same goal. It can be a team effort and often is. But there is tension baked into their respective DNAs. The power to close a restaurant is intimidating and discourages frank dialog.