Proper hand washing is critical in food manufacturing

Adequate hand washing facilities and technique are essential in creating safe food products.

Every food manufacturing facility needs to have adequate hand washing facilities. The hand washing station should be separate from sinks used for food handling, washing or cleaning of surfaces and utensils. Hand washing sinks should be made of non-corrosive materials. Stainless steel is an obvious choice, but porcelain or certain composite materials may be acceptable.

Potable water at 100 degrees or more is needed for adequate hand washing. Also needed is liquid soap in a dispenser, single use paper towels in a “hands free” dispenser and a container for soiled paper towels. A sign, advising employees to wash hands, place in appropriate locations is also needed. These signs should be in appropriate languages for the on-site personnel. 

Who needs to wash hands in a food manufacturing facility? Simply put, all personnel, including staff, visitors, contractors and anyone else entering or in the facility. Hands need to be washed, upon entry into the food processing area, after using toilet, after touching nose, using a handkerchief or tissue, after eating or smoking. Hands should also be washed after handling contaminated materials, sanitizers etc. The use of gloves does not preclude the requirement for hand washing. 

If the proper hand washing facilities and protocol are established the risk of spreading foodborne illnesses can be reduced.

Food processors that are setting up facilities to make products are important to the economy of Michigan. Educators at Michigan State University Extension and innovation counselors at the Michigan State University Product Center assist businesses in the establishment of good practices to improve business effectiveness. For further information and assistance with employee communications please contact your local Michigan State University Extension office.

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