Food safety the focus on World Hand Hygiene Day

07 May, 2013

The World Health Organisation's World Hand Hygiene Day on Sunday 5 May was a perfect opportunity for home cooks and food service professionals alike to study up on their hand washing techniques, NSW Food Authority CEO Polly Bennett said.

"The NSW Food Authority has identified hand washing as one of its golden food safety rules," Bennett said.

"It's such a simple thing to do, but it's one of the most important and easiest ways to prevent illness.

"Hands can easily spread harmful bacteria to food, work surfaces and equipment, by washing your hands properly and at the right times you can help prevent bacteria spreading to food you are preparing.

"You should always wash and dry your hands before preparing and cooking food, before handling food - especially ready-to-eat foods such as sandwiches or cut fruit and before serving food."

Bennett said the NSW Food Authority's Name and Shame website, which allows consumers to view businesses that have failed to meet food safety standards, had a number of businesses on the register for hand washing offences.

"While the vast majority of businesses do the right thing, there are a few who need to lift their game, and this includes those who have failed to implement correct hand washing measures.

"Hand washing offences are up there in the top five most common food safety breaches under the Food Act, accounting for 13 per cent of breaches in 2010-11.

"In addition to the Name and Shame register that provides the public with information about those businesses who have breached food safety laws, the Authority is also committed to encouraging and promoting training and learning through programs like Food Safety Supervisor."

Food Safety Supervisor is a training initiative designed to improve skills and knowledge in the industry - with close to 50,000 people in NSW having completed the training.

"I encourage everyone to use today's World Hand Hygiene Day as a reminder to ensure they are following the rules and keeping themselves, their family and for business – their customers, safe."

The NSW Food Authority has a fact sheet available on its website outlining the correct method for hand washing.