If we were going to answer the commonly asked question of when must a food handler wash their hands in simple terms, we’d just say all the time. But as you will learn when undertaking the task to gain a Texas food handlers certification, some times are certainly more critical for hand washing than others.
If you’re not quite sure how often you really should be washing your hands as a food handler in Texas, then read on as the following information may prove helpful.
Why Wash Your Hands At All?
We’re taught from a young age just how vital handwashing can be. COVID-19 has also taught us its importance in recent months.
However, you may not be aware of how it relates to the food industry. When you wash your hands as a food handler, you are preventing the contamination of food. When proper handwashing techniques aren’t followed, harmful pathogens and bacteria like Salmonella, E.coli, and dangerous viruses are given a chance to thrive.
These pathogens and bacteria can then lead to food poisoning that can result in serious illnesses – and even death.
When Are the Most Important Times to Wash Your Hands as a Food Handler?
An easier question to answer would be when aren’t the most important times to wash your hands? All food handlers should be washing their hands with warm, soapy water before they commence work, then again before they start handling any cooked or ready-to-eat food.
After you have handled or prepared raw food, it’s essential to wash your hands again. Don’t forget to store that food appropriately, as well!
When you carry out cleaning duties, handle waste, and use the toilet, these are all important times to wash your hands thoroughly. COVID-19 also taught us about the importance of washing our hands after coughing, sneezing, and blowing our noses, too.
If you are going from handling food to handling money, make sure you wash your hands before moving back to either task – and after drinking or smoking.
If You Wear Gloves, Is Handwashing Necessary?
Regardless of whether you wear gloves or not, it’s important to wash your hands before putting them on, before changing gloves, and after your gloves are removed.
It’s also crucial not to use gloves as a replacement for washing your hands. Food contamination can occur regardless of whether you are using gloves, especially if you move from a non-food-related task to a food-related one.
What’s more, if you wear gloves for a prolonged period without changing them often, bacteria can multiply rapidly because of the ideal growing environment you’ve created. If you remove your gloves without washing your hands or the gloves rip, you can transfer that bacteria to food or surfaces. The CDC offers some helpful advice on the most appropriate environments for glove use.
Remembering Proper Handwashing Techniques
While studying toward your Texas Food Handlers permit, you may have learned about the importance of washing your hands and how often you should wash them. Though, equally as important is how you should wash them.
Regardless of what you’re doing that calls for handwashing, don’t forget to do the following:
- Wet hands under warm running water
- Form a lather with soap
- Rub all parts of your hands, including between the fingers, with soap and water
- Lather for 20 seconds, getting under the nails and on all hand surfaces
- Rinse thoroughly with running water
- Dry your hands
The warmth of the water doesn’t matter as much as the technique you use to wash your hands. If the water is too hot, you may not hold your hands under the water long enough to wash away germs and bacteria. Aim for the water to be sufficiently hot but not hot enough that it hurts to hold them under the tap.
You may know about the importance of having a three-sink bench for washing dishes and utensils, but what about one for your hands? Ensure your food establishment has a separate sink for handwashing so that germs aren’t spread from your hands onto clean and dry dishes and utensils.
A Food Handler Certificate from TABC Pronto Will Teach You Proper Handwashing Techniques
When the time comes to enter the food industry in Texas, don’t underestimate the value of a food handler certificate. With this certificate, you can learn about keeping yourself and customers safe while also having a legal document that allows you to work in the food handling industry. Why not purchase your course content at TABC Pronto today to get the process underway?