Food Safety: It’s in Your Hands

When preparing food, one of the most important ways to avoid spreading germs is to wash hands correctly and often. This may seem like common sense; however, many individuals don’t wash their hands for the recommended length of time, nor do they wash their hands each time they’re contaminated. Did you know handwashing should take approximately 20 seconds overall?

Steps to Wash Hands:

  1. Wet hands. Use warm running water.
  2. Apply soap and lather hands.
  3. Scrub hands for 10–15 seconds. Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice or watch the second hand of a clock. Focus on scrubbing between fingers and under fingernails.
  4. Rinse thoroughly under running water.
  5. Dry hands with a paper towel or air dry. Bacteria numbers increase in damp cloth towels.

We can become less aware of the many times our hands become contaminated. Remember to wash hands after using the restroom; coughing; sneezing; running your fingers through your hair; touching or scratching a wound; petting your dog or cat; changing a diaper; handling money; working with raw meat, poultry, or seafood; and anytime hands touch something that may contaminate them.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/handwashing/fact-sheets.html or search for “5 Myths of Handwashing” and “Wash Your Hands” at the Extension Store, store.extension.iastate.edu

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