Automatic, touch-free faucets save time, water...and the health of your operation. New levels of reliability can now demonstrate the full value of automatic sensor faucets in the healthcare environment. Faucet handles are likely a major source in transferring the number one pathogen group responsible for Long-Term Care outbreaks, norovirus. Fecal>>hand/surface>>mouth/eyes/nose are the routes norovirus follows from its restroom/bathroom origin to patients, residents, visitors and staff.
Electronic faucets can be custom programmed to fit the operation. Once set, they reinforce the training, making it easier for the staff to do the right thing. By shutting down during scrubbing, these sensor faucets save nearly a gallon of heated water for every 20-second hand wash.
Of its many merits, the principal benefit of the electronic faucet is its ability to improve hand wash frequency. Users know it is faster and easier. They wash more often.
Some models are equipped with their own monitoring technology to further support a path of continuous improvement in both hand washing and food safety. This can be particularly important for operations determined to reduce their HAIs.
“Getting Started” to improve hand washing without the benefit of automatic faucets? If new faucets are not in this year's budget then insure that existing faucets and taps are frequently cleaned and sanitized to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Consider permanently conveniently locating a spray bottle of a surface cleaner/sanitizer at each handwash station location. Also insure staff are instructed to turn off taps with the paper towel they used for dying their hands.
Source: Journal of Food Protection: Vol. 64, No. 1, pp. 72-80.
Quantification and Variability Analysis of Bacterial Cross-Contamination Rates in Common Food Service Tasks
YUHUAN CHEN, KRISTIN M. JACKSON, FABIOLA P. CHEA, and DONALD W. SCHAFFNER Food Risk Analysis Initiative, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901-8520, USA
This study investigated bacterial transfer rates between hands and other common surfaces involved in food preparation in the kitchen. Nalidixic acid—resistant Enterobacter aerogenes B199A was used as a surrogate microorganism to follow the cross-contamination events. Samples from at least 30 different participants were collected to determine the statistical distribution of each cross-contamination rate and to quantify the natural variability associated with that rate. The transfer rates among hands, foods, and kitchen surfaces were highly variable, being as low as 0.0005% and as high as 100%. A normal distribution was used to describe the variability in the logarithm of the transfer rates. The mean ± SD of the normal distributions were, in log percent transfer rate, chicken to hand (0.94 ± 0.68), cutting board to lettuce (0.90 ± 0.59), spigot to hand (0.36 ± 0.90), hand to lettuce (-0.12 ± 1.07), prewashed hand to postwashed hand (i.e., hand washing efficiency) (-0.20 ± 1.42), and hand to spigot (-0.80 ± 1.09). Quantifying the cross-contamination risk associated with various steps in the food preparation process can provide a scientific basis for risk management efforts in both home and food service kitchens. ©International Association for Food Protection Faucet Selection
Faucet Selection Checklist
- Identify a faucet supplier with credibility in Healthcare backed by a solid warranty policy.
- Choose a service-minded supplier with easy/local access to technical help.
- Select a lead-free solid brass construction, NSF-61 compliant.
- Select a model with a full 2.0-2.2 GPM water flow. Consider touch-free electronic options.
- Reliability is key. Be sure DC models have a battery life indicator.
- If possible, test capabilities and check existing in-stalls.
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