One of the fundamental parts of any food hygiene training course is the importance of hand washing by all staff dealing with or preparing food. It is food safety and hygiene at its most basic level, so why are so many food companies still getting it wrong?
According to a report published by the Health Protection Agency in May 2012, poor personal hygiene and poor hand washing facilities were amongst the main contributory facts in around 17 per cent of food-borne outbreaks in the UK.
Poor hygiene and lax hand washing were also the main causes of around 170,000 cases of food poisoning a year, costing the food industry a total of £25 million a year.
What can the food industry do to improve the situation?
A recent article in Food & Beverage International magazine suggested that the initial training in personal hygiene for new starters in food businesses is often undertaken by a supervisor or employee as part of the company’s induction program. The trainer may not have the proper level of food hygiene training or may have bad habits or a lax approach to hand washing and personal hygiene.
It is recommended that all new starters undergo Level 1 and Level 2 food safety training as a matter of course. Employers can also:
• Implement a hand hygiene policy
• Install more hand washing facilities and signage
• Prioritise the re-stocking of hand washing products