The importance of keeping hands clean

It may seem like a rather silly statement: if you work in a food outlet, you need to keep your hands clean in order to prevent the contamination of food or the spread of infection.

Once you start to read reports of recent prosecutions for breaches of food hygiene regulations, you begin to realise just how difficult it seems to be to maintain clean hands. In some places, employees are not even provided with the basics: a washbasin, soap, hot water and clean towels.

This has serious implications for food hygiene; think about all you touch with your hands during the day, and then think about those unwashed hands touching your food. Even the lack of a clean towel can increase the risk of food poisoning, as damp hands provide a much nicer environment for bacteria, allowing them to proliferate more quickly than on dry skin.

You would think that food safety training would not be necessary for people to understand the importance of clean hands when preparing or handling food products. The fact that it evidently is, also underlines the importance of training as a whole.

Food poisoning can have long-term consequences on health and a serious outbreak could spell the end for the business at the root of the problem. Training provides the knowledge and skills that can allow the effective management of risks and the protection of lives and reputations. It is safer never to assume that people understand how to prepare food safely.

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