SafeFood© Design

The current issue of Food Safety magazine features a story about effective design. Those of us who have been around a while know this is not something new – but it has been refreshing to see restroom makeovers that include minimal touch. The question used to be – how do I get out of the bathroom without re-contaminating my hands? The answer has been to use the disposable towel to first dry hands, then turn off faucet, and the open the door handle. Many places have set trash containers by the door. I was surprised when a former student recalled my suggestion of dropping the used towel if a trash container was not available; management would figure out soon enough the need to have a trash can positioned there.

Even better has been the automation and clever design. Automatic sensors allow the water flow to stop without touching the dirty faucet handles. No-door entries avoid having to pull down a shirt sleeve or create another strategy for not touching the door handle. Some even have auto-flush toilets and lights. These are good things.

Now we need to learn to answer the question of “How do we encourage people to wash their hands properly?”



Catherine Hemphill Strohbehn has been a faculty member at Iowa State University in the Hospitality Management Program for 30 years. She is a State Specialist with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University. As part of her work, she conducts research, develops educational materials and provides programs to help retail foodservices use their resources effectively and ensure safe food is served. Cathy is a registered dietitian with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Certified Professional in Food Safety from the National Environmental Health Association.

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