A very interesting, or perhaps alarming, summary within the European Cleaning Journal has been released concerning the failure of food handlers to wash their hands. The survey was carried out by Initial – famous for wash-room services and supplies. In almost all countries surveyed over 70% of men and women were not washing their hands. And up to 25% of businesses were failing to provide soap dispensers. The consequences of poor or absent hand washing can be dire – or perhaps even diarrhoea! The hands are our main preparation “tool” and as such are a significant route of contamination of bacteria and food-borne viruses from faecal matter, dirty surfaces and raw foods. Food hygiene training has been around for a long time now – so the question has to be why are the figures so alarming? Well I’m afraid that it’s a fact that performing an hour or two’s training, or even a full day, and then just expecting all staff to function with exemplary personal hygiene simply does not work. Not without other controls in place such as management buy-in and good supervisory management. Third party audits can help – regular food hygiene audits have been shown to improve food safety culture amongst both management and staff. And a good, experienced auditor, who takes the time to explain carefully to staff why such controls are necessary and what the consequences are. Sometimes it just helps staff to be, and feel that they are being “policed” by someone who knows, and who has their best interests at heart too. The full article can be found here

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