If you work with food there is nothing, NOTHING, more important than keeping your customers safe. Hand hygiene plays a big role in food safety, so let’s take a look at it.
The worst time for bacteria growth:
The summer has always been the busiest time for street food sellers, mobile caterers and market traders, but it’s also the time when the weather’s at its warmest (well, most years). And that creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.
A significant amount of food borne illness is caused by contamination from the food handler, usually because they haven’t washed their hands after handling high risk foods or, in some cases, after going to the toilet.
Four of the worst consequences of poor hand hygiene are impetigo, flu, campylobacter and, worst, salmonellosis. And if you’re not washing your hands properly you could put your customers, your staff and yourself at risk of contracting these nasty illnesses.
What the law says about hand washing:
It’s a legal obligation that all open food handling businesses have separate food and hand washing facilities that provide hot and cold (or appropriately mixed) running water. You also need to provide antibacterial soap and a hygienic means for drying hands.
And by the way, you should never use alcohol gels as an alternative to a full hand washing system.
Poor hand washing will affect your food hygiene rating score:
If an EHO thinks that you aren’t taking hand washing seriously enough, you’re likely to receive a low food hygiene rating score. And if you don’t have hand washing facilities at all, you’re breaking the law and that could bring serious consequences on your business, even closure.
How to wash your hands properly:
Do you know how long it should take you to wash your hands properly? It’s 20 seconds, at the very least. If you’re not confident timing 20 seconds yourself, sing the “happy birthday” song twice (in your head!).
And if you’re not sure how exactly you and your staff should be washing your hands during this busy summer season, we’ve got the video for you. Check it out on the NCASS YouTube channel.
You can view appropriate mobile hand washing units in the store area at www.ncass.org.uk. They’re all acceptable for use in market pitches, gazebos, motorised trading units and any other mobile catering or street food units. Don’t let poor hand hygiene let you down. Keep those customers safe!