Importance of Handwashing

Why is it important to wash hands in food business?

Washing hands prevents food contamination when handled by food handlers. When hands are washed properly using hand washing techniques, harmful bacteria such as E. Coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus and virus like norovirus present on the food handlers’ hands will be removed and the food is saved from contamination.


How often should the hands be washed?

Hands should be washed as often as necessary and always:

  • Before starting work
  • Before handling cooked or ready-to-eat food
  • After handling or preparing raw food
  • After handling waste
  • After cleaning duties
  • After using the toilet
  • After blowing nose, sneezing or coughing
  • After eating, drinking or smoking
  • After handling money


Hand washing should be carried out before putting gloves on, between glove changes and after gloves are removed.

What are the Hand Washing Techniques?

Hands should be washed for at least 15-20 seconds using these techniques:

  • Wet hands under warm running water
  • Use enough soap to form a good lather. Rub all parts of hands with soap and water. Lather for at least 10-15 seconds, vigorously and thoroughly rubbing all hand surfaces, including the fingertips and thumbs.
  • Rinse hands thoroughly with running water
  • Dry hands thoroughly
  • Use hand sanitizer to sanitize the hands

What kind of facilities should be provided:

One of the fundamentals of food safety is hand wash properly before food is handled. However, we can’t have good hand wash if the facilities are not available.  A designated sink for hand washing must be provided in food preparation areas. It must be easily accessible, not likely to be obstructed and located close to the working area. Check for adequate supply of soap, paper towel and clean water supply at all the designated wash basins.

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