Getting sick isn’t fun. Along with the various complications, being sick limits a person’s ability to do things they’d rather be doing, instead of recuperating at home or in a hospital. It’s a particularly unpleasant experience when the sickness is contracted through tainted food or drink. Suffering from a bad stomach is terrible enough on its own!
This is why Food Safety Supervisors in NSW are required to complete the SITXFSA001 (Use Hygienic Practices for Food Safety) competency. It’s a food safety certificate competency that ensures food handlers working in New South Wales are provided with the appropriate education and training regarding proper food safety. In this case, food safety is directly related to the hygienic practices of the food handlers themselves.While the SITXFSA001 competency course outlines the hygiene guidelines that food handlers should keep in mind when working in a commercial kitchen, there’s one very important point that can be taken from the certification course; washing one’s hands. Washing one’s hands so that they are clean is a lesson that is taught from a very young age.
It’s a simple act that is nonetheless a strong foundation for keeping healthy and disease-free. If you need further convincing, here are some points to keep in mind:
WASHING YOUR HANDS KEEPS YOUR WOUNDS CLEAN
Keeping clean is the primary point about handwashing – but it will surprise you how often people forget to wash their hands. Unwashed hands account for a good percentage of bacterial contamination, be it through oral means or through secondary transfer, such as touching wounds and cuts.
WASHING YOUR HANDS TO KEEP YOUR FOOD SAFE
Clean hands will protect against external bacteria getting into the body through foodstuffs, particularly with regards to finger food and snacks. Cross-contamination can be limited or completely avoided if the food handling is done with clean hands. Clean hands also prevent the spread of disease through direct contact, such as after one has sneezed into one’s hands, or after one has touched unsanitary objects.
WASHING YOUR HANDS PREVENTS THE SPREAD OF INFECTIONS AND ILLNESSES
Washing one’s hands with soap or hand sanitiser eliminates a good percentage of germs from one’s hands, which in turn limits the spread of related infections and illnesses. Germs tend to find their way into the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth – body parts that are often touched by hands, either by accident or intentionally. Germs can also be transferred from one’s hands to objects that one touches, which further spreads them to other people who may be more susceptible to getting sick. Washing one’s hands lessens the risks of this.
WASHING ONE’S HANDS LOWERS ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE
This might seem like a bad thing on paper, but high antibiotic resistance is terrible for a person, especially if they have a weak immune system. Antibiotic resistance makes it difficult for medicines and drugs to take effect within the immune system, prolonging the length of time that a person is sick and making any viruses or bacteria more immune against the effects of the drugs.
Washing one’s hands reduces the chances of infections, which, in turn, lowers the instances of antibiotic prescriptions that, as a result, raise the opportunities for viruses and bacteria to develop immunity against medication. Still not convinced?
The World Health Organization, which coordinates and directs matters of international health with the United Nations, fully endorses handwashing as a means of preventing disease. It’s a simple habit that greatly improves the quality of one’s life. Always remember to wash your hands regularly, especially when handling food.