Clean Hands for Clean Food

Published January 1, 2004

Summer-time concession stand food workers may not know what professional food workers know: Keep your hands clean when preparing food. Here is a simple guide for both the consumer at home and the food preparer at concession stands and restaurants:

  • Use soap and water.
  • Wash hands vigorously.
  • Wash all surfaces including back of hands, wrists, between fingers, and under fingernails.
  • Rinse your hands well.
  • Dry hands with a paper towel.
  • Turn off the water with the paper towel instead of your hands.

Wash your hands this way before and after food preparation frequently during the day.

You should also wash your hands after touching body parts other than clean hands; using the restroom; handling animals; coughing or sneezing; and drinking, smoking, or eating.

During food preparation, you should wash your hands to remove soil and contamination. You should also wash your hands when switching between preparing raw food and ready-to-eat food.

Top six causes of food-borne illness:

  • inadequate cooling of food
  • preparing food too far in advance of use
  • poor hygiene and infected food handlers
  • inadequate cooking and re-heating of food
  • inadequate hot holding of prepared foods
  • contaminated raw foods from not washing hands.

IT’S YOUR HEALTH is written by Conrad Meier, senior fellow in health policy at The Heartland Institute. This program is produced as a public service by Radio America. Meier passed away unexpectedly on March 18, 2005.