Patrick Casey, Regional Sales Manager, Best Sanitizers, Inc., provides guidance and best practices to improve hand hygiene.

1 Why is hand hygiene important in a food processing facility?

The CDC estimates that each year 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne illnesses. Practicing hand hygiene is crucial in a food processing environment because it can help reduce cross-contamination. Contaminated hands can transfer pathogens to surfaces, utensils, and even finished food products. Not only does poor hand hygiene increase the risk of product contamination, but it can also potentially threaten employee wellness. Many facilities are experiencing staff shortages, making it imperative for their employees to stay healthy to keep the plant running.

2 What is the goal of hand hygiene?

The goal of hand hygiene is to reduce the number of pathogens on the hands to the smallest number possible. Hand sanitizing after washing further reduces the colony forming units (CFUs), making it more difficult for germs to transfer on to surfaces and finished product. A proper hand hygiene program is not complete without hand sanitization.

3 What should I look for when choosing a quality hand sanitizer?

Companies that never made hand sanitizer before began manufacturing during the pandemic. Although their efforts were needed, it created a number of products that were not specifically formulated to meet the high standards of the food processing industry.

Food plants should look for alcohol-based hand sanitizers engineered specifically to their industry. Best Sanitizers' hand sanitizer is manufactured to the highest standards in a cGMP, FDA and EPA/FIFRA compliant factory. Alpet® E3 Plus Hand Sanitizer Spray’s 71% Ethanol formula is 99.9999% effective in killing pathogens. It is fragrance-free and formulated with emollients to keep hands healthy. As a spray, it goes on light, and leaves hands feeling silky, not heavy and sticky.

4 How can I show continuous improvement?

Depending on SOPs, the answer could be different for every plant. Best Sanitizers, Inc. helps facilities identify ways to improve their hand hygiene practices by evaluating the current hand soap, hand sanitizer, and training program used in the facility.

5 How can I ensure food production workers are practicing proper hand hygiene?

Trainings are crucial to ensure employees understand how to practice proper hand hygiene. Best Sanitizers, Inc. offers on-site and webinar-based hand hygiene trainings for food and beverage processors, pharmaceutical, and packaging plants. Schedule a training by calling 888-225-3267.