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Maintaining Food Safety with Hand Hygiene (Part 1)

27/10/2014

Hand Hygiene | Initial Malaysia

Did you know that 1 bacteria cell can multiply itself to over 1 million in just 5 hours? Under optimum condition, a bacterial cell requires just a mere 20-30 minutes to double its growth. With such a staggering exponential growth, our exposure to harmful bacteria is inevitable.

Our hands are often host to harmful viruses and bacteria as these organisms ​​are commonly contracted through the surfaces that we touch. While there are a number of occasions where food is contaminated during processing, 40% of all food-borne illness outbreaks are a direct result of poor hand hygiene. Hence, preparing and consuming food with dirty hands can increase the risk of contracting illnesses such ​​Gastroenteritis due to bacterial invasion in our digestive tract.

According to a survey conducted by Food Safety Information Council, most people do not practice the correct hand washing techniques, whereby about 9% of women and 27% of men did not even bother to wash their hands at all, which makes them extra vulnerable to these diseases.

The main contributory factor that resulted in bacterial transmission is when food handlers fail to wash hands thoroughly after using the washroom. A recent study done by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that, simple and proper hand washing techniques can easily alleviate such issues and reduces the risk of diarrhoea associated diseases by 50%.

While proper hand washing is essential to provide the necessary protection against germs and bacteria, it can be further heightened through additional use of hand sanitisers. Initial Hygiene’s hand sanitisers are quick drying and able to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses including Influenza A (H1N1), MRSA, E.coli and Salmonella to provide users with maximum protection and the highest level of hand hygiene.

Part 2 of this article, we will explore ways to minimise the risk of foodborne illnesses through good hand hygiene.

Source: Food Institute of Malaysia, World Health Organisation (WHO)

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