WASH YOUR HANDS! That’s what my mother always said. But how important . . .

WASH YOUR HANDS!  That’s what my mother always said, so it’s been ingrained in me since I was a kid.  But how important is it really in restaurant kitchens?

Simply put, handwashing is the most important and most basic part of Food Safety there is. It is the #1 way to prevent a foodborne illness.

When do you wash?  When I ask that question during my ServSafe® Class, everybody seems to know the usual right times – before starting work, after the restroom (most important), handling raw food, taking out trash/ mopping/ eating/ smoking, before handling RTE food, etc.  But I want you and your employees to take it a step farther.  Make it a habit to wash your hands first thing every time you enter the kitchen, even if you’re not planning to work with food.

How do you wash?  The standard for lathering/ scrubbing used to be at least 20 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice!).  Recent research has shown that scrubbing for 10 –15 seconds is just as good, so that’s the current recommendation.  The entire handwashing process should take about 20 seconds.  Use only single-use, disposable towels to dry your hands.

To promote handwashing in your facility:

1. Teach it first thing and enforce it from day one when training a new hire.

2. Make handwashing a topic of discussion at daily/weekly meetings – make it part of your culture.

3. Ensure handsinks are kept clear and that there are no objects in front of or inside the sinks.

4. Keep handsink stocked with soap and paper towels.  Tell employees that if they use the last of the soap or paper towel it is their job to restock.

Explaining the reasons behind a good handwash and why it is important to have the handsink stocked and not blocked will make your employees more likely to properly wash their hands.

Remember, there is no excuse for causing an illness by lack of proper handwashing.


Tom Frigge

TOBE Co. Food Safety

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On May 14th, 2012, posted in: Latest News, Uncategorized by


Welcome to the new TOBE Co. Food Safety web site.  Check back frequently for updates.

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On April 25th, 2012, posted in: Latest News by