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Hand Swabs of Food Handlers as verification of hand hygiene

hand swad hand hygiene

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#1 Aliyu Angara

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Posted 03 June 2016 - 04:13 PM

As part of our verification activities, we take swab samples of all food handlers on duty on regular basis and run micro analysis. The problem is that, because of the fear of a possible sanction on failures, the food handlers always run to the wash stations to wash and sanitize their hands first before submitting themselves for swabbing. This I feel is cheating the system and not presenting a true picture of the situation. therefore my question is What is the best practice? when is the best time to swab? Is it while they are dirty with work or after they wash their hands, considering the fact that when they are working with raw food items like raw chicken, meat, seafood etc, the possibility of their hands getting contaminated with pathogens is high?


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#2 Charles.C

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Posted 03 June 2016 - 04:48 PM

As part of our verification activities, we take swab samples of all food handlers on duty on regular basis and run micro analysis. The problem is that, because of the fear of a possible sanction on failures, the food handlers always run to the wash stations to wash and sanitize their hands first before submitting themselves for swabbing. This I feel is cheating the system and not presenting a true picture of the situation. therefore my question is What is the best practice? when is the best time to swab? Is it while they are dirty with work or after they wash their hands, considering the fact that when they are working with raw food items like raw chicken, meat, seafood etc, the possibility of their hands getting contaminated with pathogens is high?

 

Hi Aliyu,

 

IMO the best option is to wear gloves.

 

It is also recommended to have glove-handwash stations within the processing area.

 

afaik, the published specifications for surface swabing are typically based on after cleaning.

 

the significance of the control/data may relate to the process, eg raw / RTE material, cross-contamination, etc

 

what  bacterial limit do you require compliance with ?

 


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Aliyu Angara

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Posted 08 June 2016 - 09:13 AM

Hi Aliyu,

 

IMO the best option is to wear gloves.

 

It is also recommended to have glove-handwash stations within the processing area.

 

afaik, the published specifications for surface swabing are typically based on after cleaning.

 

the significance of the control/data may relate to the process, eg raw / RTE material, cross-contamination, etc

 

what  bacterial limit do you require compliance with ?

 

Dear Charles,

Thanks for your feedback. We require TVC of <100 Cfu/cm2, Coliforms, <10 cfu/cm2 and Nil for all other pathogens( E. coli, S. aureus, Salmonella sp, S. feacalis etc)

Thanks


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#4 GMO

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Posted 08 June 2016 - 12:33 PM

I would check post hand washing but in a location where they can't see you're there.  It also needs to be made clear to them that they are not to run back and wash hands when they see you.  You could even treat this as a disciplinary issue as it is admission they'd not washed their hands properly to start with...


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