Categories: Cooking Tips

Handwashing

Wash your hands…PLEASE!

I always started the school year teaching my culinary students about safety and sanitation – even before I would instruct them on basic cooking skills. I wanted to be sure they understood the importance of safe kitchen practices and proper sanitation concepts.

“Sanitation is not an option, it is an obligation” to the health and safety of your family, friends, you – or anyone you feed. This begins with one simple task – HAND WASHING. That’s right, washing your hands regularly, and correctly, can help reduce the spread of bacteria significantly.

Think about what you do with your hands, the things you touch. When you cough or sneeze into your hands, or blow your nose, do you wash them immediately? What do you do if you’re using a public rest facility where soap and hot water aren’t readily available?

Hand washing helps prevent cross-contamination, that is, the spread of germs or bacteria from your hands to another person, food, utensils, equipment and/or work surfaces.

Personal hygiene is very important when working with food, too.

Here’s a perfect example of how poor personal hygiene affected food preparation and customer safety:

Years ago, a Fort Lauderdale, FL restaurant, The Ancient Mariner actually went out of business because of one employee who didn’t wash his hands thoroughly. He caused hundreds of guests to become ill over a period of a few months. How?

Here’s how. He worked on the salad station, preparing salad dressing, tasting the recipe with his fingers. The unsuspecting guests who ate salad with the dressing he made ended up ill – many were hospitalized. The Board of Health investigated & found this one employee to be the culprit. Not only did he have hepatitis, but they discovered feces under his fingernails! (Remember that part where he tasted the dressings with his fingers? Need I say more?)

People think they know how to wash their hands. Turn water on, rub a little soap on their palms, swish, rinse & done.

How Culinary Professionals Wash Their Hands – and you should, too:

  • Use water as hot as your hands can comfortably stand.
  • Wet hands & apply soap (antibacterial preferred).
  • Scrub between fingers & under the nails (keep nails trimmed short).
  • Rub hands together vigorously for 20 seconds (hum to the tune of “Happy Birthday”)
  • Rinse hands thoroughly.
  • Turn off faucet with a single-use disposable towel or your elbow.

View Comments

  • That Fort Lauderdale restaurant was the one on the boat floating in the New River, wasn't it? The Ancient Mariner or, at another point, it was called Livingston's Landing. Nice idea for a restaurant that didn't turn out so well. It was eventually sunk off the coast to become an artificial reef. Or maybe you're thinking of a different case.

Recent Posts

Easter Menu Planning? Look no further!

  I don’t know about you, but in our family, we’re all about tradition when…

3 months ago

St. Sarkis Day and 3 celebratory recipes

It’s that time of year again! St. Sarkis Day, the moveable feast day on the…

5 months ago

A Traditional Recipe for Armenian Christmas Eve – Nevik

Way back in 2010 Ara Kassabian shared his family’s recipe for Nevik with The Armenian…

6 months ago

Thanksgiving Recipes Revisited

With Thanksgiving Day just hours away, I thought I’d share a few of our favorite,…

7 months ago

George Mardikian’s Chicken Tchakhokhbelli recipe, dish favored by Georgian princes.

My family and I had the distinct honor of meeting George Mardikian at his restaurant,…

12 months ago

Antonio Tahhan and his recipe for Kbeibat, Middle Eastern dumplings

My first encounter with Antonio (Tony) Tahhan, the Syrian-American food writer, researcher, and storyteller, spans…

12 months ago

This website uses cookies. find out more.