Handwashing for Life

Overcoming Underwashing
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The Hand Cleaning Factor of Paper Toweling

Jim Mann's picture

Better handwashing protocols specify disposable paper towels or continuous towel systems as they add a valuable friction factor, significantly increasing cleaning, perhaps even doubling it when measured in log reduction. This is a benefit unavailable to all styles of air dryers, warm air or air blade. For this reason the Department of the Army in Technical Bulletin (TB) MED 530 specifies either disposable paper or continuous fabric roll towels be used at all handsinks used by employees.

The effectiveness of the additional cleaning is inversely proportional to the duration of scrub times. We know by observation that few are washing their hands for 20 seconds with 10-15 second scrub times as prescribed in Section 2-301.12 of the 2013 Food Code. This makes the paper towel an important adjunct to cleaning as well as facilitating good and fast drying.

Public Health Significance

Poorly rinsed food-handling hands increase the risk of transfer of loosened contaminants directly to food or frequently touched shared surfaces, thus risking the public's health. Now that we know the outbreak-leading pathogen, norovirus, is living for longer periods on both animate and inanimate surfaces, more effective protocols are in order.

Most quick-serve and casual dining restaurants have restrooms used jointly by customers and food workers. Both groups need good handwashing where norovirus is the primary concern

Recommended Solution:

The Conference recommends...that a letter be sent to the FDA recommending the 2013 Food Code be amended as follows (language to be deleted in strikethrough format):

6-301.12 Hand Drying Provision.

Each HANDWASHING SINK or group of adjacent HANDWASHING SINKS shall be provided with:

  • (A) Individual, disposable towels; Pf
  • (B) A continuous towel system that supplies the user with a clean towel; Pf
  • (C) A heated-air hand drying device; Pf or
  • (D) A hand drying device that employs an air-knife system that delivers high velocity, pressurized air at ambient temperatures.

References:

 

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