Handwashing and Gloving for Food Protection: Examination of the Evidence

Authored by: Eleanor J. Fendler , Michael J. Dolan , Ronald A. Williams

Handbook of Topical Antimicrobials

Print publication date:  September  2002
Online publication date:  September  2002

Print ISBN: 9780824707880
eBook ISBN: 9780203909256
Adobe ISBN:


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Handwashing has been universally accepted as a means of reducing contact transmission of microorganisms for more than a century. The effectiveness of handwashing as a primary infection-control measure in healthcare has been reviewed and extensively documented [75,76]. Its effectiveness as a means of preventing the transmission of microorganisms to food via the hands is well established in the foodservice industry [85,88]. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code 37 introduced in 1993 requires double handwash, use of a nail brush, and no-hands contact with ready-to-eat food. These requirements reflect the premise that the use of a physical barrier (gloves) on the hands of food-handling personnel prevents the transfer of pathogens to food. However, it is questionable whether there is sufficient scientific evidence to support these requirements. To answer this question, a review of the published literature related to all aspects of handwashing and gloving was undertaken.

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