Monday, September 22, 2014

Proper hand washing focus of #FoodSafetyMonth Week 4

The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA), in partnership with the National Restaurant Association, brings you the National Food Safety Month Week 4 lesson: Personal Hygiene, or more specifically, proper hand washing.

Last week, the LRA Education Foundation arranged for Pam Williams, a chemist with Auto-Chlor Systems, to provide a proper hand washing demonstration to the ProStart I and ProStart II classes at Grace King High School in Metairie.

Auto-Chlor Systems Chemist Pam Williams explains the proper hand
washing techniques to two ProStart I students. 
“Why is it important to properly wash your hands?” Williams asked. “When preparing and serving food, it is the most important thing you can do to reduce the spread  of infection and illness caused by harmful germs, viruses, fungi, protozoa and bacteria.”

Williams’ lesson included an overview of the three most common foodborne illnesses spread easily through unclean hands. “Bacteria are microscopic and some types that can cause food poisoning through cross-contamination by way of the hands are E. Coli, Staphylococcus Aureus and Salmonella,” she explained.

E. Coli illnesses and even deaths are becoming more and more common in the news. It is bacteria found in the lower intestine of people and animals and according the Centers for Disease Control, it can be spread by adults who do not wash their hands carefully, specifically those handling or surrounded by infants and toddlers.

Staphylococcus Aureus is a group of bacteria found on the skin, hair, and in the nose and throat of people and animals. Staphylococcus can cause food poisoning when a food handler contaminates food and then the food is not properly refrigerated.

Salmonella is a group of bacteria causing infection in the lower intestine and causes food poisoning when someone contaminates raw or prepared food with bacteria from hands and is then eaten. Some sources are raw, uncooked or unpasteurized foods such as undercooked chicken, unpasteurized milk or juice, raw fruits and vegetables.

After her presentation to the ProStart I class, Williams took two student volunteers to the hand washing sink and demonstrated the proper way to wash your hands. She then provided each student with a sample of GloGerm to rub on their hands and they were then charged with washing them using the proper method. After the students washed their hands, the lights were turned off and Williams and the rest of the class turned a black light on the volunteers’ hands to see how well they washed. The black light showed them where germs and bacteria still resided on their hands.

Since the ProStart II students had completed the first year of instruction and many of them are studying to become ServSafe certified, the GloGerm effect was less jarring. 

Here is an activity that you can do with your staff. The answer key can be found at under Activities.

This year’s theme is “20-Year Anniversary: Top 20 Tips,” highlights the best of best practices, or the most important aspects of serving food safely to the American public. 

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