Six steps food manufacturers need to follow to ensure safe hand-washing procedures

Adopting an adequate hand washing technique is essential in creating safe food products.

All personnel, including staff, visitors, contractors and anyone else within the food facility need to have their hands adequately washed. Hands need to be washed before entering the food processing area, after using the toilet, using a handkerchief or tissue, and eating or smoking. Hands should also be washed after handling contaminated materials, sanitizers etc. Gloves don’t preclude the requirement for hand washing.

  1. In order to wash hands adequately, eight steps should be followed:
  2. Roll up sleeves and wet hands with warm water. Water temperature of 100° or more would be considered adequate.
  3. Use soap to lather the arms and forearms. Do not use sanitizer to wash hands.
  4. Rub front and back of hands, fingers, wrists and forearms for at least 20 seconds.
  5. Use fingernail brush to clean under fingernails.
  6. Rinse hands and forearms thoroughly and leave the water running.
  7. Using a single paper towel, hot air blower, or cloth roller towel, dry hands and forearms thoroughly.
  8. Use a single paper towel to shut off water once hands are dry.
  9. If hand washing in rest room, use a single paper towel to open the rest room door to exit. This will prevent recontamination of hands.

If the proper hand washing facilities and protocol are established, the risk of spreading foodborne illnesses will be reduced.

Food processors that are setting up facilities to make products are important to the economy of Michigan. Extension Educators at Michigan State University Extension and Innovation Counselors at the Michigan State University Product Center assist businesses in the establishment of good practices to improve business effectiveness.  For further information and assistance with employee communication, please contact your local Michigan State University Extension office.  

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