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Is the use of hand dryers acceptable in the food industry?

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 07:31 AM

Dear All,


My organization manufacturers food packaging products.We have implemented use of hand dryer after visiting washroom.

In my last fssc 22000 audit, an Audit commented that warm air dryers are unsuitable for use since they may contribute to cross-infection via airborne dissemination.

What are your advises and the alternatives.







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Posted 04 January 2018 - 08:20 AM

Hi Maurice. 

I have also heard from some auditors about this issue but got no findings over it. There are some alternates to hot air dryers such as disposable tissue dispensors and air blades. (http://www.dyson.com/hand-dryers.aspx). But to my opinion, instead of switching to these expensive decisions (one-time-although) try to do some experiments / validation activities to have proof (if possible) that hot air dryer is or is not a bad idea as auditors are commenting. Do focused sampling by taking hand swabs of as many persons as you can at different time intervals after hand drying and study for the count on dried hands. if results are unsatisfactory, first try to reduce bio burden in the air of washrooms by increasing frequencies of fumigation or cleaning, second try to move the air dryer location outside or far from intense contaminated area of washroom and re-validate the results. if your validation results are satisfactory, these would become the replies against adverse comments on your conventional hot air dryers.




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Posted 04 January 2018 - 10:29 AM

I would also suggest trying to do air plates to prove that the air that is blown does not carry contamination, although this might backfire and prove that the method does cause contamination.


We have also had that comment a few times, so we currently use single use paper towels.


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Posted 04 January 2018 - 12:12 PM

If these are the traditional hand drier type which take ages to dry your hands I'd be more worried that people end up drying their hands on their clothing.  The high speed hand driers are more effective and quicker so (probably) lead to more compliance in using them properly.


We have dyson style hand driers in toilets and our low risk area which hasn't been raised as an issue.  Certainly you could argue if staff are changing and washing hands again on entry into your production area then the risk is minimal anyway but personally if you do have the old style hand driers I would change them as they are bad at what they do.

Leila Burin

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 03:28 PM

Hello, although in public toilets study, this can help you also decide.

Personally, I always prefer strong blue disposable paper,


Best regards,






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Posted 11 January 2018 - 08:30 AM

I have come across a couple of studies which compare the use of electric hand driers and Paper towel for hand drying, and whilst I’m not sure what the source was , both suggested paper was the more hygienic of the 2 options, mainly as the paper option did not distribute droplets, but I don’t recall either indicating the Hand driers posed any significant increase in risk.

My last place of employment were BRC grade A accredited and they had a mixture , paper, electric and roller towells - none were ever questioned or raised as a concern by the auditors to my knowledge.


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Posted 14 January 2018 - 05:51 PM


acc to our micro examinations even sucking air dryers are not suitable for hygiene areas.

We have dyson air dryer (sucking, not blowing) in all non-hygiene areas for ecological reasons. In production we only allow paper towels.





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Posted 21 March 2018 - 07:01 PM

I just completed a literature review on the subject that should provide some helpful citations for anyone evaluating hand dryers vs. paper towels in their plant.



Austin Bouck
Owner/Consultant at Fur, Farm, and Fork.
Consulting for companies needing effective, lean food safety systems and solutions.

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