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Todd E.C.D.,Michigan State University | Michaels B.S.,B. Michaels Group Inc. | Greig J.D.,Public Health Agency of Canada | Smith D.,Campden BRI | Bartleson C.A.,6110 Troon Lane S.E.
Journal of Food Protection | Year: 2010

The role played by food workers and other individuals in the contamination of food has been identified as an important contributing factor leading to foodborne outbreaks. To prevent direct bare hand contact with food and food surfaces, many jurisdictions have made glove use compulsory for food production and preparation. When properly used, gloves can substantially reduce opportunities for food contamination. However, gloves have limitations and may become a source of contamination if they are punctured or improperly used. Experiments conducted in clinical and dental settings have revealed pinhole leaks in gloves. Although such loss of glove integrity can lead to contamination of foods and surfaces, in the food industry improper use of gloves is more likely than leakage to lead to food contamination and outbreaks. Wearing jewelry (e.g., rings) and artificial nails is discouraged because these items can puncture gloves and allow accumulation of microbial populations under them. Occlusion of the skin during long-term glove use in food operations creates the warm, moist conditions necessary for microbial proliferation and can increase pathogen transfer onto foods through leaks or exposed skin or during glove removal. The most important issue is that glove use can create a false sense of security, resulting in more high-risk behaviors that can lead to cross-contamination when employees are not adequately trained. Copyright © International Association for Food Protection. Source


Todd E.C.D.,Michigan State University | Michaels B.S.,B. Michaels Group Inc. | Smith D.,Campden BRI | Greig J.D.,Public Health Agency of Canada | Bartleson C.A.,56110 Troon Lane S.E.
Journal of Food Protection | Year: 2010

During various daily activities at home and work, hands quickly become contaminated. Some activities increase the risk offinger contamination by pathogens more than others, such as the use of toilet paper to clean up following a diarrheal episode, changing the diaper of a sick infant, blowing a nose, or touching raw food materials. Many foodborne outbreak investigation reports have identified the hands of food workers as the source of pathogens in the implicated food. The most convenient and efficient way of removing pathogens from hands is through hand washing. Important components of hand washing are potable water for rinsing and soaps to loosen microbes from the skin. Hand washing should occur after any activity that soils hands and certainly before preparing, serving, or eating food. Antimicrobial soaps are marginally more effective than plain soaps, but constant use results in a buildup of the antimicrobial compound on the skin. The time taken to wash hands and the degree of friction generated during lathering are more important than water temperature for removing soil and microorganisms. However, excessive washing and scrubbing can cause skin damage and infections. Drying hands with a towel removes pathogens first by friction during rubbing with the drying material and then by wicking away the moisture into that material. Paper rather than cloth towels should be encouraged, although single-use cloth towels are present in the washrooms of higher class hotels and restaurants. Warm air dryers remove moisture and any surface microorganisms loosened by washing from hands by evaporation while the hands are rubbed together vigorously; however, these dryers take too long for efficient use. The newer dryers with highspeed air blades can achieve dryness in 10 to15 s without hand rubbing. Copyright © International Association for Food Protection. Source


Todd E.C.D.,Michigan State University | Greig J.D.,Public Health Agency of Canada | Michaels B.S.,B. Michaels Group Inc. | Bartleson C.A.,6100 Troon Lane S.E. | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Food Protection | Year: 2010

Hand washing with soap is a practice that has long been recognized as a major barrier to the spread of disease in food production, preparation, and service and in health care settings, including hospitals, child care centers, and elder care facilities. Many of these settings present multiple opportunities for spread of pathogens within at-risk populations, and extra vigilance must be applied. Unfortunately, hand hygiene is not always carried out effectively, and both enteric and respiratory diseases are easily spread in these environments. Where water is limited or frequent hand hygiene is required on a daily basis, such as for many patients in hospitals and astronauts in space travel, instant sanitizers or sanitary wipes are thought to be an effective way of preventing contamination and spread of organisms among coworkers and others. Most concerns regarding compliance are associated with the health care field, but the food industry also must be considered. Specific reasons for not washing hands at appropriate times are laziness, time pressure, inadequate facilities and supplies, lack of accountability, and lack of involvement by companies, managers, and workers in supporting proper hand washing. To facilitate improvements in hand hygiene, measurement of compliant and noncompliant actions is necessary before implementing any procedural changes. Training alone is not sufficient for long-lasting improvement. Multiactivity strategies also must include modification of the organization culture to encourage safe hygienic practices, motivation of employees willing to use peer pressure on noncompliant coworkers, a reward and/or penalty system, and an operational design that facilitates regular hand hygiene. Copyright ©, International Association for Food Protection. Source


Todd E.C.D.,Michigan State University | Michaels B.S.,B. Michaels Group Inc. | Holah J.,Campden BRI | Smith D.,Campden BRI | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Food Protection | Year: 2010

Alcohol compounds are increasingly used as a substitute for hand washing in health care environments and some public places because these compounds are easy to use and do not require water or hand drying materials. However, the effectiveness of these compounds depends on how much soil (bioburden) is present on the hands. Workers in health care environments and other public places must wash their hands before using antiseptics and/or wearing gloves. However, alcohol-based antiseptics, also called rubs and sanitizers, can be very effective for rapidly destroying some pathogens by the action of the aqueous alcohol solution without the need for water or drying with towels. Alcohol-based compounds seem to be the most effective treatment against gram-negative bacteria on lightly soiled hands, but antimicrobial soaps are as good or better when hands are more heavily contaminated. Instant sanitizers have no residual effect, unlike some antimicrobial soaps that retain antimicrobial activity after the hygienic action has been completed, e.g., after hand washing. Many alcohol-based hand rubs have antimicrobial agents added to them, but each formulation must be evaluated against the target pathogens in the environment of concern before being considered for use. Wipes also are widely used for quick cleanups of hands, other body parts, and surfaces. These wipes often contain alcohol and/or antimicrobial compounds and are used for personal hygiene where water is limited. However, antiseptics and wipes are not panaceas for every situation and are less effective in the presence of more than a light soil load and against most enteric viruses. Copyright ©, International Association for Food Protection. Source


Todd E.C.D.,Michigan State University | Michaels B.S.,B. Michaels Group Inc. | Greig J.D.,Public Health Agency of Canada | Smith D.,Campden BRI | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Food Protection | Year: 2010

Contamination of food and individuals by food workers has been identified as an important contributing factor during foodborne illness investigations. Physical and chemical barriers to prevent microbial contamination of food are hurdles that block or reduce the transfer of pathogens to the food surface from the hands of a food worker, from other foods, or from the environment. in food service operations, direct contact of food by hands should be prevented by the use of barriers, especially when gloves are not worn. Although these barriers have been used for decades in food processing and food service operations, their effectiveness is sometimes questioned or their use may be ignored. Physical barriers include properly engineered building walls and doors to minimize the flow of outside particles and pests to food storage and food preparation areas; food shields to prevent aerosol contamination of displayed food by customers and workers; work clothing designated strictly for work (clothing worn outdoors can carry undesirable microorganisms, including pathogens from infected family members, into the work environment); and utensils such as spoons, tongs, and deli papers to prevent direct contact between hands and the food being prepared or served. Money and ready-to-eat foods should be handled as two separate operations, preferably by two workers. Chemical barriers include sanitizing solutions used to remove microorganisms (including pathogens) from objects or materials used during food production and preparation and to launder uniforms, work clothes, and soiled linens. However, laundering as normally practiced may not effectively eliminate viral pathogens. Copyright © International Association for Food Protection. Source

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