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Bacterial Hand Contamination and Transfer after Use of Contaminated Bulk-Soap-Refillable Dispensers

Studies have shown the impact of bulk soap – or soap dispensed from refillable containers – on hand hygiene, and the results are strongly in favor of moving toward factory-sealed soap refills. Open bulk dispensers are prone to extrinsic contamination from the environment, are subject to tampering and can actually increase the number of bacteria on hands. In fact, research has shown that as many as one in four bulk soap dispensers is contaminated. 

Reference: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, May 2011, p. 2898–2904. Carrie A. Zapka, Esther J. Campbell, Sheri L. Maxwell, Charles P. Gerba, Michael J. Dolan, James W. Arbogast, and David R. Macinga

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Improved Inactivation of Nonenveloped Enteric Viruses and Their Surrogates by a Novel Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

Norovirus is the leading cause of food-related illnesses in the United States, and foodservice workers are on the front lines of the fight against outbreaks. Organizations like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) now recommend the use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly soiled, over soap and water handwashing, despite soap and water still being a common and relevant way to clean hands.

Reference: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, August 2008, p. 5047–5052. David R. Macinga, Syed A. Sattar, Lee-Ann Jaykus, and James W. Arbogast

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Hand Hygiene Regimens for the Reduction of Risk in Food Service Environments

In an evaluation of the antibacterial and antiviral efficacy of various hand hygiene regimens under conditions similar to a foodservice environment, research shows the importance of an effective hand hygiene regimen for foodservice workers. The study shows that poor personal hygiene – and in particular handwashing – is a significant contributor to the increased risk of foodborne diseases. 

Reference: Journal of Food Protection 2012 Jul;75(7):1303-9. Edmonds SL, McCormack RR, Zhou SS, Macinga DR, Fricker CM

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Rethinking Hand Hygiene in the Retail and Foodservice Industries: Are Recommended Procedures Based on the Best Science and Practical under Real-World Conditions?

Pathogens like norovirus, salmonella, E. coli and others frequently make their way into our food during one of the many touchpoints in the foodservice process because of poor hygiene practices of workers. Poor compliance rates and a lack of proper training and enforcement have led to questions about – and a re-evaluation of – the current hand hygiene practices in the foodservice industry. 

Reference: Food Protection Trends. 32(12):750-759. Fraser, A., Arbogast, J., Jaykus, L.A., Linton, R., and Pittet, D. 2012

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Occurrence of Heterotrophic and Coliform Bacteria in Liquid Hand Soaps from Bulk Refillable Dispensers in Public Facilities

The objective of this study is to determine the presence of bacteria in bulk soap from open, refillable containers obtained from restrooms in a variety of public facilities. The results show that open bulk dispensers are prone to extrinsic contamination from the environment, and up to one-in-four dispensers show the presence of heterotrophic and coliform bacteria.

Reference: Journal of Environmental Health (www.neha.org), March 2011, Volume 73, Number 7, pp 26-29. Marisa Chattman, MS, Sheri L. Maxwell, and Charles P. Gerba, PhD

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Ability of Hand Hygiene Interventions Using Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers and Soap To Reduce Microbial Load on Farmworker Hands Soiled during Harvest

According to the Food Safety Modernization Act, proposed by the FDA, handwashing with soap and running water is the recommended way for produce handlers to perform hand hygiene. This study explores the effectiveness of using an alcohol-based instant hand sanitizer to clean workers’ hands where and when water is not present. 

Reference: Journal of Food Protection 2015 Nov;78(11):2024-32. de Aceituno AF, Bartz FE, Hodge DW, Shumaker DJ, Grubb JE, Arbogast JW, Dávila-Aviña J, Venegas F, Heredia N, García S, Leon JS

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Efficacy Evaluation of Four Hand Cleansing Regimens for Food Handlers

Abstract: This study examined the ability of four handwashing regimens to reduce transient microorganisms on the skin of hands. The efficacy of these regimens was determined using a modified Healthcare Personnel Handwash procedure and Escherichia coli as the transient marker organism. The regimens consisted of a non-antimicrobial hand cleanser, an alcohol gel hand sanitizer, an antibacterial soap and an antibacterial soap plus application of an alcohol gel hand sanitizer.

Conclusion: The most effective configuration for antimicrobial control in the food industry clearly is the combination of the antimicrobial handwash followed by alcohol gel application. This configuration produced a high immediate reduction of transient microorganism, with potential for increased reductions with multiple applications of the antimicrobial hand soap over a period of days.

Reference: Dairy, Food and Environmental Sanitation, Volume 19, Number 10, October 1999, pp. 680-684

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Handwashing and Gloving for Food Protection: Examination of the Evidence

Abstract: This paper presents a review on published literature (medical, microbiology, and food industry) related to all aspects of handwashing and gloving. This review demonstrates that there is insufficient scientific evidence to support the premise that the use of gloves on the hands of food-handling personnel prevents the transfer of pathogens to food and, consequently, to support the requirement for no-hand contact with ready-to-eat food.

Personal Authors: Fendler, E. J., Dolan, M. J., Williams, R. A. Author Affiliation: GOJO Industries, Inc., Akron, Ohio, USA. Reference: Paulson, D. S.

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Handwashing and Gloving for Food Protection: Effectiveness

Abstract: This paper presents a 2-phase study which evaluated the effectiveness of handwashing compared to gloving, under simulated food service conditions. The first phase evaluated the ability of hand-contaminant bacteria to penetrate compromised vinyl glove barriers. The second phase evaluated the microbial contamination level picked up on the hands from handling contaminated hamburger.

Personal Authors: Fendler, E. J., Dolan, M. J., Williams, R. A., Paulson, D. S. Author Affiliation: GOJO Industries, Inc., Akron, Ohio, USA. Reference: Paulson, D. S.

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Can instant hand sanitizer weaken a person's immune system?
No, there's no evidence to support this myth according to Dave Shumaker, Microbiologist, who sets the record straight.

Will frequent hand washing or the use of hand sanitizer irritate employees' hands?
Dave Shumaker, Microbiologist, is a proponent of a proper hand hygiene regimen that keeps employees' hands healthy.

Is antibacterial soap a requirement for your foodservice facility?
This isn't specified by the FDA but Dave Shumaker, Microbiologist, cites science that supports that it may still be the appropriate choice for foodservice facilities.

How does the amount of soap or instant hand sanitizer used impact its effectiveness?
Addressing dosage, formulation and technique Dave Shumaker, Microbiologist, informs about achieving an effective hand cleaning.


Alcohol Hand Sanitizers Will Keep You Healthy and Safe

Earlier this year, the FDA announced a proposed rule requesting additional data to support safety and efficacy of common hand sanitizer active ingredients, including ethyl alcohol. The statement clarified that FDA does not recommend removing products from the market at this time and reiterated CDC recommendations around hand hygiene, including the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. A recent study showed that using hand sanitizer 30 times an hour for 12 hours leads to a level of alcohol absorption that is similar to the level that results from drinking a 12 ounce bottle of flavored water.

Source: Popular Science

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The CEO and Food Safety

Managing risk is an important part of any CEO’s job description. And for a foodservice business, managing risk comes in the form of preventing foodborne illness. Proper hand hygiene throughout the supply chain can help to mitigate that risk, and create a higher quality product in the end. In a world where so many things are out of your control, hand hygiene is a simple, effective way to help prevent illness.

Source: Forbes

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Wash Your Hands to Prevent Foodborne Illness

Handwashing – and using the correct handwashing technique – are critical to preventing foodborne illness. In a study conducted by Kansas State University, 90% of participants contaminated the food they prepared by either not washing their hands, or by not washing correctly. Poor hand hygiene can spread pathogens from food to surfaces, hand towels, other foods and other areas of the kitchen. By adhering to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines, you can greatly reduce the chances of contracting a foodborne illness.

Source: Food Poisoning Bulletin

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FDA Moves to Prevent Foodborne Illness

According to the CDC, one in six Americans gets sick each year from foodborne illnesses, and 3,000 Americans die annually from these illnesses. In an effort to lower those numbers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has focused on prevention of outbreaks at food production facilities. By requiring facilities to identify potential problems in advance, they can create processes to minimize or deal with these problems before they arise, allowing the FDA to react faster in the event of an outbreak.

Source: Med Page Today

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From Truck to Table: Fresh Food Safety Every Step of the Way

Every step of the way, the food you serve can make or break your business. Making sure everything from produce to protein is clean and safe for customers is the most important part of the restaurant supply chain. Using the proper techniques and processes when sourcing ingredients, receiving shipments, storing food, marking expiration dates – even growing food yourself – can help reduce the chance of your customers eating contaminated food.

Source: Food Service Equipment and Supplies

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Packaged Facts: In Wake of Chipotle's E. coli Debacle, 74% of Consumers Expect Better Restaurant Food Safety Monitoring

In the wake of recent outbreaks, consumers are voicing their opinions more than ever. In addition to increased expectations placed on the foodservice industry, 46% of consumers say they’re more concerned about food safety today than they were in the past. Whether that’s a function of increased publicity for outbreaks or the changes in national supply chain seems to be irrelevant – the consumer has spoken, they’re concerned about food safety.

Source: Packaged Facts

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Communication, Planning Key to Preventing Foodborne Illness at Restaurants

For more and more foodservice providers, avoidance is becoming a more viable way to look at foodborne illness. Currently, products are monitored and tested on the back end, but companies are looking to add quality assurance and safety components to the front end of their processes. By promoting better training and open communication between the front office and the workforce, companies are hoping to create a safer foodservice ecosystem. 

Source: Nation's Restaurant News

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Whole Genome Sequencing: Cracking the Genetic Code for Foodborne Illness

We live in a high-tech society, and thanks to advances in technology, we can now track a foodborne illness from the people affected to the source with DNA sequencing programs used by the FDA. Most recently, the FDA tracked Listeria-tainted food, and quickly issued a recall. The ability to sequence these pathogens allows us to pinpoint the source of the outbreak, and help to protect consumers more effectively.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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5 Strategies to Reassure Consumers about Food Safety

Consumer confidence is a hot-button issue in today’s foodservice industry, and as that trust begins to wane, companies need to act fast. Reassuring your guests that you’re doing what it takes to keep them safe is a great way to regain trust and prove you’re committed to delivering a great guest experience. From opening communication to increasing transparency and evaluating your supply chain, you can take the necessary steps to restoring faith in the foodservice industry.

Source: Pizza Marketplace

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GenomeTrakr is FDA’s Version of Hoover’s Fingerprint File

The FDA has been working on technology that will allow them to track a foodborne illness from the people affected to the source with DNA sequencing programs used by the FDA. The ability to sequence these pathogens allows us to pinpoint the source of the outbreak, and help to protect consumers more effectively. Additionally, the FDA is using the data gathered from previous outbreaks to continue to advance their technology to help prevent future outbreaks.

Source: Food Safety News

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