It is very important to fully observe the essential rules of hygiene when preparing food. Educating food handlers is a crucial step in following good food hygiene practices, although it would also be important to know the rules at home.
One of the best practices in preventing foodborne illness is washing hands properly. And not only in our part of the world: it has been proven that in developing countries this practice alone reduces the incidence of diarrhoea by half. In our case, most people have been taught since childhood to wash their hands under various circumstances in their daily life. This is why these questions will seem too obvious to many of them. But reality shows us that it is necessary to talk about handwashing when dealing with food handling.
The aim is to get rid of the inevitable contamination. It may have its origin in faecal matter, after using the toilet, handling waste, changing a nappy or touching pets. It may also happen when handling raw foods, whose surfaces are usually highly contaminated, and when touching objects that are used frequently by many people, such as a telephone or money.
ontamination can also originate in the secretions produced in sneezing or coughing, or after touching contaminated body parts such as the mouth or the nose. So it is necessary for people who are going to touch or handle food to wash their hands carefully.
But, how should it be done?
Handwashing is a simple act, but it is not always performed properly. This is an example of a double wash, which ensures a substantial reduction in microorganisms:
Wet your hands thoroughly in lukewarm water and use a brush and soap on your fingers and fingernails for ten to 15 seconds. Rinse afterwards to get rid of the lather.
Add soap to the palms of you hands and rub them together. Rub the palms together, then the backs of the hands and the fingers, and even the forearms. After 20 seconds, rinse in warm water.
Finally, it is necessary to dry your hands properly, preferably with disposable paper towels to avoid re-contamination. Drying your hands is crucial because it is lethal for the microorganisms that may have remained and reduces their number substantially.
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