We are bombarded with messages every day stating the importance of regular handwashing. We are told that it can help prevent the spread of diseases. But why is it so important to wash your hands during cooking? What is the correct way of washing your hands? And what happens if you don’t wash your hands while preparing food? Read on to discover why you should adopt the habit of regular handwashing.
Without even noticing it, people touch their face thousands of times a day. It might seem like a harmless habit at first, but by constantly touching your face, you can spread around harmful bacteria. Staphylococcus bacteria are natural residents of the skin and nose of healthy individuals, but when gaining entry to other areas of the body, or your food, they can cause infection. While preparing your food, you can easily touch your nose, then your phone, then kitchen utensils, then the food…You can see the pattern! Not only that, but raw meats are often covered with bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, or E. coli. If the meat is going to be cooked, this won’t be a problem, as you will kill off the bacteria. But if you don’t wash your hands regularly, you could transfer these bacteria to fresh produce, which will ultimately be eaten raw.
By not washing your hands, you put the people who you cook for at risk of a possible foodborne illness. It is quite difficult to stop yourself from touching your face, most of us do it without even giving it a second thought. So, the best way to prevent this spread of bacteria is to adopt a habit of washing your hands regularly while preparing food, especially when working with fresh produce or raw meats.
It is very important to do a thorough hand wash after going to the toilet, handling raw meat, or touching your pets. Use soap and wash for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to create a nice lather and wash your hands thoroughly (see step-by-step image).
Between everyday activities, even just a ‘splash ‘n dash’ rinse of your hands is enough to wash off most bacteria. Start a new habit today and wash your hands regularly. Remember, your hands may look clean, but they can harbor invisible bacteria that can be transferred to your food, making you (and others) very sick.
Do you wash your hands regularly when preparing food? Tell us in the comments below!
Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives, CDC