We’ve written about this before, but here is another take on the effectiveness of warm or hot water in handwashing.
Researchers surveyed 510 adults and asked them questions about their hand washing behaviours and perceptions. People were asked how often they wash their hands, for how long and how hot the water should be.
According to the published report, “70% of respondents said they believe that using hot water is more effective than warm, room temperature, or cold water, despite a lack of evidence to back that up. The research showed a, “strong cognitive connection between water temperature and hygiene in both the United States and Western Europe.”
So while many believe hot water is more effective for hand washing the study actually concluded, “the temperature of water used is not related to how well pathogens are eliminated during the process.” Additionally, warmer water can irritate the skin and can affect its protective layer, which may cause it to be less resistant to bacteria. Skin irritation has been reported as one of the main reasons many healthcare workers forgo hand hygiene for example.
Interestingly if you look at the official guidelines for hand washing from the CDC and WHO, both do not actually specify a water temperature. They do recommend using soap and water and scrubbing using proper technique for at least 20-seconds, followed by drying hands thoroughly.
Despite this there is still lots of confusion as some public health organizations still recommend, “elevated water temperature.” The FDA Food Code for example, which is a model used to enforce health standards in restaurants recommends the , “hand washing sink be equipped to provide water at a temperature of at least 100°F or 38°C.”
One subscriber to this blog recently commented, “I have come across a food safety consultant who insisted that the temperature should be 60°C (140°F). Observations revealed that staff proceeded to use cold water saying hot water was too hot! Microbiological swabbing of hands revealed an increase in Campylobacter, E.coli and Listeria counts on hands that were washed in basins when very hot water was demanded by the consultant, compared to hands exposed to water at 40 to 45 °C.”
Barry Michaels, a microbiologist and expert in infectious disease performed the only known comprehensive review of published recommendations or testing standards on hand washing and rinsing water temperatures from 1938 to 2002. He found that there was no consensus but instead temperatures ranged from ambient to “as hot as you can stand” or “as hot as possible”. Many recommendations in food and healthcare environments were not concerned with the water temperature at all, while an equal number only specified that water in the lukewarm to warm temperature regions be used. Then there was a select group including ASTM test methods, American Society of Microbiology, the FDA Food Code and experts in food and healthcare who felt that hot water from 40 to 50 degrees °C (~100-120 degrees °F) should be used. Reasoning was that hot water was needed to melt fats in food soils and increase antimicrobial effectiveness. In testing on efficacy and skin health Barry Michaels and team found that hot water should not be used.
Michaels commented, “The damage at 60°C would probably be enough to stop workers from washing hands all together. Results indicate that water temperature has only slight effect on transient or resident bacterial reduction during normal hand washing when bland soap is used. We have also tested with four other soap products each having different active ingredients (PCMX, lodophor, Quat & Triclosan) and overall, the four soap products produced similar efficacy results”.
“Although there were slight increases in Log10 reductions (ascribed to antimicrobial speed of chemical reaction), skin moisture content decreased while Visiometer skin dryness score and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) increased at higher temperatures. Results were not statistically significant for any parameter, but all trends were unmistakable.”
“In summation, water temperature should be comfortable to allow or encourage frequent hand washing with mild, but effective soaps (designed for soils to be encountered). Vigorous hand washing is the preferred method. In terms of ideal temperature, I would say from ~70 to 105 °F or ~20 to 40.5 °C. This is comfortable without the risk of skin damage,” concluded Michaels.
Reference for the research cited is: Michaels, B.; Gangar, V.; Schultz, A.; Arenas, M.; Curiale, M.; Ayers, T.; Paulson, D. Water Temperature as a Factor in Handwashing Efficacy. Food Service Technology 2002; 2:139-149.
A group of teenage girls are speaking out because they say they got dangerously sick after stopping at the Caribou Coffee in Brooklyn Park, and company officials confirm seven workers there had the norovirus.
“We usually go there in the morning and grab something before school usually 3 or 4 times a month,” Allison Fortuna said.
The coffee shop on Colorado Lane North was once a weekly stop for several members of the Champlain Park High School cheer squad, but Fortuna says she and the others who were sickened aren’t sure if they’ll ever come back.
Fortuna said 15 people fell ill, but she and her sister say the scariest part of the whole ordeal wasn’t learning what made them sick — the experience itself was.
“Really bad stomach pain and throw up time after time,” Fortuna recalled. “I started throwing up blood from throwing up so hard.”
Another young girl told Fox 9 News she also got sick after having a vanilla cooler at the same shop last week. Anna wrote, “After I drank it, I started throwing up a lot. All my friends that went there got sick too.”
Fortuna said she and other members of the cheer squad were sick for 3 to 4 days, and Brooklyn Park Code Enforcement and Public Health representatives have pinpointed a cause: A total of 7 Caribou employees were sick with norovirus last week.
“They voluntarily closed on Friday and we went back out this morning,” Jason Newby said. “They’re still screening employees and bringing in employees from other locations. They’re doing all the right things.”
Caribou spokeswoman Brianna Bauer said professional cleaners spent the entire weekend sanitizing the store before it reopened on Monday morning.
It’s estimated that 400-500 people visit that Caribou location each day, but Brooklyn Park representatives say only one sickness has been officially reported after visiting the coffee shop. In order to consider it an outbreak, those who were sickened need to report their illness to the hotline by calling 1-877-366-3455.
Those who monitor disease detection policy note that it’s cheaper and faster to move away from a system that relies heavily on the time-consuming growth in the lab of cultures of disease-causing bugs.
Roll Call reports that the PulseNet system of labs for tracking foodborne illness relies on cultures to make a diagnosis rather than the culture-free approach AMD allows. That may make it important to move to the new system now, while the nation still has that PulseNet capability as a backup.
That would also retain scientists’ ability to identify certain strains of diseases and the power to trace foodborne outbreaks back to their source.
The University of Queensland’s Gatton piggery has suspended the supply of pigs to market while it investigates concerns about possible rat poison contamination.
The suspension follows testing on the livers of five pigs which died during a seven-month period last year.
Tests found traces of coumatetralyl, the active ingredient in rat poison.
The university’s acting Vice-Chancellor Alan Rix said the university was working with Safe Food Queensland and the Queensland Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Department on further testing and analysis.
“All rat poison has been removed from the Gatton piggery and the site has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected,’’ Professor Rix said.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the risk to humans of eating pork from the piggery was negligible.
“This was my opinion when I was first informed of the issue and the results of testing since then have confirmed this view,’’ Dr Young said.
“There is no food recall for pork or pork products because there is no serious risk to humans.’’
Dr. Richard Raymond writes in MeatingPlace.com that when it comes to food safety, no wonder it is hard for the public to believe what they hear. Here are four public statements that fell short on honesty and accuracy:
• “Our nations’ food safety system is a hazard to public health.” — President Barack Obama shortly after his inauguration.
• “We are standing on the brink of a public health disaster.” — Congresswoman Slaughter in February, 2014, right after the FDA released its latest National Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring System’s (NARMS) report.
• When farmers use antibiotics, “they do so…under the care of a veterinarian.” — United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s website (USFRA)
• “Salmonella is killed when food is cooked and handled properly. So, people becoming ill from antibiotic resistant foodborne bacteria and not being able to be treated in some manner, is rare if not almost non-existent.” — USFRA website
Number 1 was a good sound bite that played to the media and the change mongers, but totally failed to recognize a food safety system that may have flaws and shortcomings, but for the most part is doing a very good job with the tools given to FDA and USDA to enforce and regulate and it also ignores the dedication of our farmers and ranchers, scientists, trade organizations, packers and processors who toil every day, knowing their work is critical to your and my health.
This was just a shameful slap at tens of thousands of men and women who have chosen a less than glamorous profession, work in harsh conditions at times and try to do it right every day.
Number 2 totally ignored the fact that the latest NARMS report regarding samples of retail meat and poultry for pathogens and antibiotic resistance showed that the drugs of choice for treating foodborne illnesses caused by Salmonella and Campylobacter remain effective with no resistance seen.
It also showed significant declines in resistance in pathogens to flouroquinolones, a class of antibiotic used in human medicine but for all effects and purposes banned from use in animals by the FDA because earlier NARMS reports indicated a rapidly growing resistance that was problematical.
Numbers 3 and 4 mislead and attempt to say “no problem here with antibiotic use in animals.” Two simple facts shoot these quotes down, even as this organization tries to speak positively for those raising our food.
Simply put, there are a lot of antibiotics being administered in feed and water with zero DVM oversight and supervision. We all know that as a fact.
Salmonella is the number one cause of deaths from foodborne illnesses in this country, accounting for 29 percent of the total deaths. If you read the CDC annual reports you know that fact also. Tell the family members of the 452 persons who died in 2012 that those deaths were “non-existent.”
The Salmonella pathogen class also causes over 1 million illnesses per year in the United States. That fact cannot be waived off with a toss of a hand and a web page declaration, especially after the recent Foster Farms related outbreak that sickened over 500.
We have been making steady progress in making our meat and poultry safer, especially since the Jack in the Box E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that caused the entire industry to declare food safety a non-competitive arena.
Headline seekers and grabbers do not help the movement to continue to improve. Using logic, common sense and science as the movers and shakers will produce a safer food supply.
Former graduate student Allison Smathers caught Liz Szabo’s color-is-not-an-indicator brief in USA Today and tweeted like love, food safety is color blind.
It’s a myth that color is a reliable indicator of whether food is fully cooked. Use a meat thermometer, says Benjamin Chapman, assistant professor at North Carolina State University. Poultry requires an internal temperature of 165 degrees, ground beef, 160; pork and seafood, 145.
Safely cooked chicken can still be pink; preservatives (nitrates or nitrites) also can cause a pink color, more common in younger birds with thin skin.
Stick it in.
Beef’s color is affected by acidity and fat content. Low-fat patties need more cooking and higher temperatures. Beef also can turn brown before reaching a safe temperature if it’s from an older animal, was stored for a long time or exposed to too much air.
Eleven years after Toronto came up with the red-yellow-green restaurant inspection grading system, an Orange County, California, grand jury on Thursday recommended the county adopt a health inspection system with green, yellow and red placards, instead of letter grades, to inform customers whether food-service establishments are complying with the health code.
The county is the only one among its neighbors without a letter-grade system, and Thursday’s report was the latest attempt to give consumers easily recognizable information. Previous tries here met opposition from the restaurant industry, but this time may be different, officials say.
The Board of Supervisors has three months to respond to the recommendations.
“I’m not trying to put restaurants out of business,” said Supervisor John Moorlach, who recommended a similar system in 2008, “but I want to make sure they’re doing their best to get a good green tag in the window.”
Patrons can get a copy of the restaurant’s latest inspection report online (ocfoodinfo.com) or if they ask for it at the restaurant, but hardly anybody does, said Russ Bendel, the owner of Vine Restaurant in San Clemente.
Colored signs “definitely will help guests choose where they want to go if they have multiple options,” he said.
The grand jury recommends using the same three categories as today, but coloring them like traffic signals. This is “a more practical approach” than letter grades, the report says, without the “disruption and burden” and expense.
“Improving the visibility of the current unremarkable graphic to a more distinctive image is an overdue step forward,” the report says.
It criticized other counties for “operating without any conformity” in their letter grades – for weighing certain infractions differently.
The Crocodile Lounge bar — known for offering free personal pizzas with each drink — was shut down by the Health Department this week after inspectors found rats, mice and other violations, according to online records.
Inspectors shuttered Crocodile Lounge at 325 E. 14th St. on Wednesday after issuing 51 violation points for food that was not protected from contamination, dirty wiping cloths, improper plumbing and conditions that attracted vermin, plus evidence of live rats and mice, records show.
Crocodile Lounge posted a note on its Facebook page saying it had closed because of a broken pipe.