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Overcoming Underwashing
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Thanksgiving’s Top 10 Tips For Healthy Hands & Wellness

Thanksgiving, the eater's favorite holiday. Ours always starts on Wednesday with a little pre-prep and gathering last minute supplies.

As joyous the occasion, it’s also a special feast day for bacteria and virus, particularly for salmonella and norovirus – the poster children for holiday pain. Staying well can make the difference between a memory of magic or misery. Good hand hygiene can do more for protecting holiday health than an over-cooked Turkey. 

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A Successful Culture Change Doubles Handwashing Rates

Data plus leadership records sustainable gains in handwashing behaviors.

Culture change is often cited as a requirement where hand washing rates need to be doubled to reach a safe level. The Atrio Restaurant in Carmel, Indiana, lead by Chef Peter Fulgenzi, took on that task, challenging his staff to accept their professional role in serving safe food and giving them a measurement tool to verify handwashing without filling in tedious logs.

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Soap Formulated For Frequent User

Chemical irritants removed

Fast-paced foodservice work results in frequent hand contamination. Frequent handwashing is a must but most hand soaps are formulated for few handwashes per shift with a focus on quick foaming and grease cutting. Both criteria can result in damaged skin which is then even harder to clean.

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International Clean Hands Week

International Clean Hands Week 2018

Please join this annual campaign, sponsored by the CDC facilitated Clean Hands Coalition.  Raise awareness of the dangers of poor hand hygiene. Check out a variety of ideas to improve the away-from-home wellness factor in everyone's life.

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Risk-Based Handwashing

Risk-Based Handwashing

Process control answers the rising risk

Years of poor handwashing has resulted in it becoming the default standard in foodservice across the country. The management complacency that followed blocks out the visibility of the rising risks. 

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Mitigate Risk: Motivate Hand-Washing

norovirus-associated disease rates by age group chart

Hand-washing continues to rapidly move from a tiring and trivial irritation to an existential threat. One restaurant operator faced a federal grand jury subpoena last year as part of a U.S.

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The Outbreak Breakthrough of Whole Genome Sequencing

The Outbreak Breakthrough of Whole Genome Sequencing

Whole genome sequencing, WGS, is a new motivator for enhanced high-touch surface cleaning and handwashing in all locations where people are preparing or serving food. More broadly, it is a robust laboratory procedure for the DNA fingerprinting of pathogens. This advancement provides the opportunity to stop outbreaks sooner and avoid additional illnesses by the rapid and accurate identification of the specific strain of a pathogen while lighting the path to its source.

Chart republished with the permission of SRM Inc.

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The Incentivized Handwash

New technologies provide simple answers to age-old handwashing issues.

The Pay:

A performance-rewarding pay package is THE answer to solving the industry’s appalling handwashing compliance rates. New technologies provide measurement standards and serve as performance monitoring tools.

Identify and implement a monthly incentive level worth working for. Here is a sample where an entry level employee's job performance can earn him or her up to $1,200 per year.

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2014 CFP Hand Hygiene Success: Groundwork for 2016

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.

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The Unwritten Food Code

(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.

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The Written Food Code: Prescription vs. Innovation

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".

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HandsOn™ System

HandsOn System

5 steps to convert underwashing to under control. Set and track your risk-based ServeReady® Hands and TouchReady® Surface standards.

SaniTwice® for Catered Events

SaniTwice for Catered Events

Uncompromised hand cleanliness for those serving food at venues without running water.

Teaching Videos

Teaching Videos

Globally recognized for their ease of use in any language. Available in DVD and MP4 file download.