The importance of hand washing in food safety

A number of recent prosecutions or closures of businesses serving food have been, in part, due to breaches of the law relating to hand washing facilities.

Thorough hand washing forms part of food safety training, and is a basic requirement that is paramount in ensuring that food served to the public is safe to eat.

The law stipulates certain requirements regarding hand washing facilities that must be respected:

• The premises must provide an adequate number of flushing toilets, which must not be in rooms that open directly onto food preparation areas.
• There must also be an appropriate number of wash basins provided, and they must be only destined for washing hands.
• Wash basins for the purpose of washing hands must have both hot and cold water supplies, along with soap and materials for allowing hands to be dried hygienically. Some inspections that have been reported in the press found establishments that did not provide wash basins that allowed the hygienic cleaning of hands for employees preparing food for the public.
• If necessary, there should be separate sink provided for the washing of food.

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