How to maintain good hygiene levels in the foodservice sector

26/09/2012 - 08:29
A recent survey, conducted by Dr Ron Culter at the Queen Mary University of London, has found that 26% of bank notes and 47% of credit cards are covered in germs, whist 80% of notes and 78% of credit cards have some traces of bacteria.

Emma Nourry, trade marketing manager at SCA for the Lotus Professional brand, discusses how food service staff can maintain good hand hygiene levels when handling money around food, and how catering outlets can help to ensure the best levels of hygiene for their customers.

Limiting contact between money and food

Isolating money handling tasks from food preparation in catering establishments is the easiest way to minimise the risk of germs finding their way from money to mouths. Where this isn’t possible, attention to hand hygiene is essential, with the Food Standards Agency advising staff to wash their hands after handling money and before preparing food.

Germs can live on surfaces from just seconds to weeks on end. Even when strict hand washing regimes are adhered to, germs deposited on soap, toilet tissue and hand towel dispensers through mechanical operation can easily be passed from one user to the next, remaining on hands should they be washed incorrectly, thus finding their way on to food.

Removing contact between dispenser and user, the enMotion touchless range of foam soap, foam hand sanitizer and hand-towel dispensers, from the Lotus Professional brand combine touchless technology with sleek dispensing to provide a hygienic and cost effective way to wash hands.

Available in a range of sizes and finishes, the enMotion range of hand towel dispensers are encased to minimise the risk of paper towels rolls becoming contaminated.  Sheet length can be adjusted to reflect individual needs, whilst the single sheet dispensing helps to reduce usage and cost.

Benefiting from a new hygienic pump with each refill, the enMotion range of touchless Antibacterial foam soap  and foam hand sanitizer dispensers from the Lotus Professional brand offers optimum hygiene, in addition to reducing usage and cost through adjustable single dose dispensing.   The enMotion soap contains a blend of emollients, such as Aloe Vera and glycerin – ingredients specially selected to be gentle on the skin and therefore making it a choice product for use in catering and hospitality industries where regular hand-washing is a key part of day-to-day practice.

When money leaves its mark

Cross-contamination of germs from money to food preparation areas should be a key concern for all catering outlets, especially when the two are carried out in close proximity. Although money handling may be isolated from kitchens and counters, there is still a risk that surfaces could become contaminated through hand contact, presenting an opportunity for bacteria from money to be transferred onto surfaces and as a result, onto foods.

Regularly wiping down food preparation areas is the best way to prevent them from harbouring germs and bacteria. The Impact range of food contact approved disposable wipes from the Lotus Professional range offer a hygienic and ultra- absorbent wipe for back of house duties. Available in a hygienic portable poly pack, they can be transported to the job in hand, in addition to being stocked in a slim dispenser to increase surface space.

Tested for heat resistance they are also suitable for handling hot plates and pan handles up to 250⁰ for up to eight seconds.  Upon disposal, the wipers will bio-degrade over time in soil.

The hidden hygiene costs of napkins

Once customers have paid for their food at a catering outlet, it is likely that their next task will be to collect cutlery and napkins, with the bacteria from the money they have just handled still present on their hands. When napkins are left stacked by the dispenser side, or within a dispenser that encourages users to touch more napkins than they take, the risk of cross- contamination is high, both through airborne bacteria and the germs transferred from hands.

Housing napkins within a robust dispenser, the JustOne range from the Lotus Professional brand is available in a number of sizes ranging from the high capacity wall mountable model, to the customisable JustOne Mini dispenser. Benefiting from a single sheet dispensing system, the JustOne range ensures users only take and touch the napkin they need, minimising the risk of bacteria contaminating napkins within the dispensers. Additionally the JustOne 2-ply napkins are practical, absorbent and soft.

Whilst the bacteria found on cash and cards cannot be eliminated, maintaining high levels of hand hygiene, workplace hygiene and protecting napkins from cross-contamination will help to prevent contaminants from dirty money, finding their way into food preparations and on to food.

 

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