While hand washing is standard procedure in food handling factories, companies are investing in additional sanitising products to ensure hands and skin are germ-free within factory floor and food handling points and offices and administrative departments.
Aquaint is a water-based sanitiser that kills 99.9% of bacteria, according to microbiological tests by UKAS accredited laboratories.
Water is the base of the product and its only other ingredient, Hypochlorous Acid (HCIO), provides its anti-bacterial properties.
The firm said HCIO is a harmless natural acid produced by the human body to kill bacteria.
Food industry scrutiny
Bola Lafe, founder and MD of Aquaint, said it can reduce cost and speed up the cleaning regime, which can’t always be achieved by wearing gloves.
“They could wear gloves when handling food, but in some areas of the food industry, staff are still required to handle food items and packaging etc with bare hands so it’s essential that their hands are as clean as possible,” he said.
“Aquaint is available to many industry sectors but the food industry is under particular scrutiny with Campylobacter and other food-related issues dominating the media.
“The FSA survey on supermarket chickens revealed over 73% of supermarket chickens in the UK are contaminated with unacceptable levels of Campylobacter, and we are working with the British Poultry Council and its members to assess Aquaint as a viable means of helping to tackle the problem.”
EHL Ingredients has been using the natural sanitising water since October 2014, the product was launched in the UK at the start of 2013.
Previously, EHL had handwashing procedures for staff handling food ingredients but some found alcohol-based sanitisers too harsh for the skin.
Lafe said food firms recognise the importance of employee hand washing.
“However with the constraints of time, many employees simply do not wash their hands properly or for the suggested 30 seconds, and this is where sanitisers can help to ensure hands are adequately cleaned," he said.
“Hand sanitising is convenient and effective for busy food manufacturers and processors, especially in situations where getting to a sink to find soap and water is not always practical or possible, and it allows staff to continue to maintain good hand hygiene in a practical and efficient way.
“Over recent years, firms have adopted a wider use of sanitisers, which very much suggests that they are aware of the importance of hand hygiene in general.”
Hand washing is a standard procedure in food handling factories but Aquaint said many companies are investing in additional sanitising products to ensure hands and skin are germ-free within factory floor, food handling points and offices and administrative departments.
Hands should be thoroughly washed with soap for at least 30 seconds before any food handling.
Following this it is recommended they should be sanitised to pick up any residual bacteria.
Cost of failure
Lafe said commercial impact could be severe if there were to be an outbreak of illness or food poisoning caused by poor hand hygiene or a poor cleaning regime at the factory level.
“All workplaces should actively promote good hygiene practices as a way of keeping employees healthy and Aquaint can enhance and speed up the system, saving time and improving efficiency in busy environments within the food industry, such as at EHL Ingredients.
“Customary actions in workplaces can lead to the spread of germs, such as shaking hands or sharing telephones, so it’s important to protect workers from harmful bacteria.”
Tasneem Backhouse, sales and marketing director at EHL Ingredients, said: “Our head office contains multiple points where staff are handling items such as dried food ingredients, fruits, nuts and seeds, as well as files, stationery, mugs, computer equipment and phones and we need to maintain the highest levels of hand hygiene right across our operation.
“Some employees come into direct contact with external suppliers and clients so it is important to ensure all our staff maintain good hand hygiene to stop germs spreading between each other and from their skin to customers.”