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Hand Washing Protocol Requirements Question (air vs. single use paper)


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#1 food_hygiene

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 07:48 PM

Hi,

 

I am new to the forum but am doing a research project on food hygiene - specifically on hand washing protocol. I do not work in the food industry and so appreciate all input from you veteran auditors and operators.

I am most interested in the food processing side of things and paper towels vs air dryers.

 

Preface:

 

In the Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene it only states that "hygienic" drying of the hands is required (inclusive of air dryers and paper towels)

However, in numerous other Codex documents it states that single-use paper towels are necessary (principles on preventing viruses, certain vegetables and fruits standards, meats among others)

 

Many other national/international documents also just say "hygienically dry hands" - European commission, FDA's Food Code, etc.

 

However certain countries standards and industry standards state that only single-use paper towels are acceptable in food areas (bathrooms are different)

ex. Ireland's NSAI standards, SQF, and most standards related to meat. 

 

Again there IS variance in the industry standards too, however.

BRC, ISO, and  others do  not rule out air dryers but say something along the lines of "appropriate placement" of them

 

Questions:

What is everyone's thoughts on the topic?

Do companies primarily use single use paper towels? 

Would changing international guidelines to mandate paper towels be a cumbersome burden on companies?

Why is their such discrepancy among standards with regards to this?

 

Really any insight will help. Sorry for the long message, hope it's not too convoluted. 

 

Thanks!

Tom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 Charles.C

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 03:34 AM

Hi food hygiene,

 

I anticipate you will be doing a literature search as part of yr overall project. And presumably including paper towels vs hot air dryers.

 

A direct googling with respect to the food industry yields approx. 400.000 hits.

 

This includes numerous publications in micro. journals on debated aspects such as the potential dispersion (and retention) of microbes incurred by air driers.

 

Here are 3 forum threads on this topic spanning over one decade -

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...ee-hand-dryers/

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...hot-air-driers/

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...126-handwashing

(especially see Post 4 et seq)

 

(There are predictably even more forum threads on handwashing per se. It is perhaps surprising though that despite 3.8M Google hits there are seemingly only around 400,000 for the food industry subset despite the long history of its known significance, eg -

 

https://en.wikipedia...iki/Mary_Mallon

 

Good Luck !

 

PS - Another, perhaps more divisive, possible topic would be regarding the use of gloves in the Food Industry. :smile:


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Charles.C


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#3 food_hygiene

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 01:39 PM

Thank you for the reply Charles! Those links are very helpful.

 

 

Another question regarding this,

 

Do you know if this is an issue that is brought up by auditors, or is it not that important? I am trying to gauge how sensitive the towel/air dryer debate actually is when it comes to being certified.


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#4 Charles.C

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 02:22 PM

Thank you for the reply Charles! Those links are very helpful.

 

 

Another question regarding this,

 

Do you know if this is an issue that is brought up by auditors, or is it not that important? I am trying to gauge how sensitive the towel/air dryer debate actually is when it comes to being certified.

 

hi food hygiene,

 

TBH I have rarely encountered hot-air driers (HAD) in my auditing experience of (mainly) wet factories (seafood).

 

From occasional usage in public scenarios, HADs seem to be mechanically unreliable/frustrating to use/inefficient drying/slow. Probably partly due to the installers trying to economise on electricity. Microbially speaking, I've yet to be convinced of a compensatory benefit.

 

Other people/industries may hv different experiences/opinions of course.


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Charles.C


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#5 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 04:22 PM

I've found hand dryers to be unhygenic unless rigorously maintained (like a 4 hour sanitize/wipedown for high use dryers), which eliminates much of the cost savings vs. paper towels.

 

They can become unhygenic because they retain water from hands (which will inevitably contain microbes of significance) which promotes bacterial and mold growth either directly below the hand dryer, or in the "trough" for the Dyson-type airblade dryers IME.

 

Paper towels have the dual benefit of cancelling out bad handwashing habits (you can get decent log reductions because people are good at wiping their hands dry even if they just dunk them under the faucet without soap), and eliminating the standing water issue.

 

That said, the literature isn't consistent in which is more hygenic, and it will probably come down to your facility, setup, and use rate for both cost savings and cleanliness. But in my history I've preferred paper towels.


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#6 food_hygiene

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 08:27 PM

Great intel. 

 

Going back to my first post on the topic. 

 

 What foreseeable effect would changing international guidelines (codex) to mandate paper towels have?

 

My thoughts from this thread and others:

 

1. It wouldn't affect 99% of big food processors because they already have paper towels in place

2. It would eliminate the need for extra validation steps during PRPs

3. International and US companies that do not follow one of the GFSI standards would be more likely to have improved hand washing outcomes


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#7 Charles.C

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 06:14 AM

Hi All,

 

Also see this (partially) related post/thread -

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...ol/#entry110564

 

To hopefully add a little more context, i've added a few recent links on this topic plus another Mayo published document (hdg1). (Personally i felt that after reading hgg1 and the info.presented, the document's own conclusion was rather unconvincing, judge for yourself).

 

Attached File  hdg1 - 2012 - The Hygienic Efficacy of Different Hand-Drying Methods - A Review.pdf   148.25KB   13 downloads

Attached File  hdg2 - 2013 - Paper Towels vs. Air Dryers _ Supply Sanitation Systems.pdf   7.11MB   10 downloads

Attached File  hdg3 - 2015 - Hot air hand dryers vs paper towels – is there a contest.pdf   360.32KB   9 downloads

Attached File  hdg4 - 2016 - the battle over hand-drying hygiene.pdf   1.33MB   11 downloads

 

One thing is obvious, a variety of types of drier (eg jet, hand, hot air), criteria, testing, and evaluation procedures have beeen involved. so far I don't think anyone here has analysed one criterion mentioned in some of the refs above - costs. Not so irrelevant.

 

Another recent "hand-drier" publication (2015) (although refs up to 2012) is here -

Attached File  hdg5 - 2015 - hand air driers in washrooms - bacterial contamination.pdf   466.58KB   6 downloads

 

@food_hygiene - I trust this Forum will get a mention/copy in yr Project Report. :smile:


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Charles.C


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#8 Charles.C

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 07:43 AM

addendum -

 

This topic is clearly a fertile, safety/commercially important area of research and development. A few more suggested publications are here -

 

Attached File  hand drying publications.png   16.72KB   0 downloads

 

Here is an extended discussion derived from file hdg1 of Post 7 -

 

Attached File  Paper towels vs hot air driers.pdf   1.31MB   9 downloads

 

And a quite informative sales pitch also reliant on hdg1 -

 

Attached File  Advising the benefits of paper towels,2013.pdf   498.7KB   6 downloads


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Charles.C


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#9 food_hygiene

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 12:39 PM

Wow Charles,

 

You are a total boss! Thank you for the information. I have no idea what I would do without the IFSQN forum. Sorry about the overlapping threads, was originally just trying reach SQF people in the other one.


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#10 food_hygiene

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 02:29 PM

Hi guys, 

 

I have come across another kind of random question.

 

Are the food hygiene requirements for fish products typically stricter or more lax compared to other foods?

 

Thanks


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#11 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 05:54 PM

Hi Food_hygiene,

 

I don't know if you'll be able to get a "typical" answer for that, it's going to vary by facility, product, process, and jurisdiction.

 

For example, a cooked fish product (surimi) is going to have less stringent hygiene requirements pre-cook step and very strict ones post-cook step. Raw shrimp manufacturers doing processing "on the boat" will have less stringent standards because the product is non-RTE and happening with a raw product, but a facility further processing those shrimp (e.g. peeling) will have higher standards being one step closer to a consumer.

 

In general, regardless of level of risk, best practice is to treat food as food as soon as it goes from a agricultural commodity (pulled carrots, caught fish) to a future food product (shipment of raw fish).


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#12 Scampi

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 07:23 PM

Different commodities have different rules based on RISK and IMHO each country determines risk slightly differently, one would assume geographic locale must play into that debate on some level. We are mandate to provide;

Where required or appropriate, areas of the establishment are provided with an
adequate number of conveniently located hands free hand-washing stations with trapped
waste pipes to drains.
Hand-washing stations are properly maintained and are provided with hot and cold or
warm potable running water, soap dispensers, soap, sanitary hand drying equipment or
supplies and cleanable waste receptacles. Hand-washing notices are posted in
appropriate areas.

 

The easiest way to ensure you have "sanitary" hand drying equipment is single use paper towels, otherwise we would be spending time and money proviing repeatedly that our dryers are sanitary plus in a wet environment (nightly clean in place sanitation) they would rust and fall apart very quickly.


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