Tag Archives: staphylococcus

How safe is your Food Hygiene Rating against clients with unwashed hands?

Fingers crossed
You know YOUR hygiene is as good as it gets – but how about those people coming in through the door?

The short answer is, not very.

Even if your Food Hygiene Rating puts a “5” on your door, you’re up the creek at the slightest whisper of  “food poisoning”.

Especially if it gets in the media.

Superstar Michelin performers have had to close down to address those two words.

True or not, the public never seem to accept anything except negligence on your part.

So it’s the whole witch hunt.

Plummeting PR, lost revenue, the cost of deep cleaning, grilling staff over procedures, publicity for reopening – and the slow, agonising build up to repair your reputation.

Thousands and thousands.

And not necessarily anything to do with you at all.

Not YOUR hygiene – theirs

Because, ask yourself . How many of your clientele actually wash their hands before they sit down? Or if not then, before they pick up a knife and fork?

And who knows where they’ve been, or what they’ve been doing?

If they’ve been driving, there’s a good chance they’ve picked up staphylococcus or e.coli off their own steering wheel. Especially when car INTERIORS might only get cleaned every 3 months.

If they were on their mobile phone too, they’re likely to have been touching more faecal matter than a toilet seat.  The biggest trigger for norovirus – the Don’t Wash Hands Disease.

And these are the people who dare to suggest your procedures gave them food poisoning!

Iffy, iffy, iffy

It gets worse.

Because, top-drawer celebrity status notwithstanding, how many customers wash their hands EVER?

Your hands might be clean, but theirs aren’t. Check the record.

So that “5” Rating on your door is already under threat before you start.

Because you just know some hot-shot solicitor is going to make mincemeat of your case, no matter how meticulous you are.

Which means, “5” Rating or not, it’s worth investing in a little protection.

Protecting your interests – and reputation

OK, you can’t exactly demand they all hit the washroom before being shown to their table. They’ll never come back – and they’ll bad-mouth you to all their friends.

But you can protect hygiene levels AND offer a little courtesy – if you serve each guest with an individual hand-wipe or sachet of antimicrobial gel. Not as grand as steam-heated towels, but a lot more effective. Warm dampness in any case stimulates more bacteria than it kills.

On top of that, you also have the option to reassure clients that the whole place is sterile before opening for every session. Any germs previous guests might have left on chairs, table undersides, or condiment containers are eradicated without having to think about them.

And everywhere else as well. The drapes they might have touched. The carpets they might have tracked stuff in on. Not necessarily dog poo, but invisible germs. Plus harmful microbes lurking anywhere else. On menus, door handles, light switches, in the air itself.

One quick 40-minute session with ionised hydrogen peroxide mist  will remove all viruses and bacteria. Oxidised to nothing, so the whole place is safe, secure and sterile.

And your reputation is no longer at risk.

Well-earned status

Yes, sure – there might be the odd curmudgeon who refuses to co-operate. But how curmudgeonly do they have to be to refuse a pretty staffer personally offering an individually presented hand-wipe with your compliments?

A little insurance – and proof you’ve more than earned your “5” Rating.

Your customers are happy too.

Because how many of them will boast about the superior evening with PERSONAL hand hygiene – AND the place was specially sterilised before they got there?

A toast to you, then. May your business grow and prosper!

Picture Copyright: citalliance / 123RF Stock Photo

If you buy someone a burger with dirty hands and they die from it, isn’t that murder?

Fingers pointing at woman
You did wash your hands, didn’t you? Didn’t you? DIDN’T you?

Can’t happen, right?

And at least it can’t be you.

Death by misadventure, more like. Just Fate.

Like, here’s this van parked up in a lay-by selling burgers and you’ve got the munchies, why not? A burger for your friend and bacon butty for you. Looks OK, lorry-drivers all use it, what could be wrong?

The price for not thinking

Food poisoning is what. The worst kind.

Only twenty minutes to kick in too. Doubled-up with cramps, explosive vomiting, cold to touch like you can’t believe – in a coma before you even get to A&E. Another hour and the worst happens – staphylococcal poisoning and some underlying condition nobody knew was there.

Your best friend – gone. Dead from a burger.

Not your fault, right?

How could you know that burger van was suspect? Could happen to anyone.

Yeah, but – even a burger van has to conform to standards.

Public liability insurance, health and safety, health and hygiene certificates – there’s a whole load of legal stuff they have to satisfy before they can hit the road.

Operating regulations too – buying from safe supply, clean preparation area, regulated cooking time, washing hands, covering hair, wearing aprons, handling food with gloves – they can’t just willy-nilly flip burgers.

Which means that burger was probably OK when they handed it to you. The bacon butty too – nothing happened to you, did it?

Yeah, that burger van’s hygiene standards were most likely 100% up to scratch. Those lorry drivers would complain like hell otherwise – and they’d soon go out of business if they weren’t. Fines, criminal charges – lots of nasties to avoid.

So how did it happen?

One finger pointing, three pointing back

You took the burger and the butty back to the car, she opened the door, you gave it to her – has to be the burger van.

Uh huh.

And just for the record, when did you actually wash your hands before all this? What were you handling? Did you touch or talk to anyone who had an infection? Did you handle their clothing or bedding?

Oh, sure. You MEANT to wash your hands. Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t – most of the time we all THINK we did. Anyway, what does it matter?

Staph contamination on your hands is what.

We all KNOW we’re supposed to wash our hands after handling stuff – and we all KNOW we’re supposed to do it again before handling food.

It’s like a responsibility to ourselves, to keep us safe from anything happening. Basic hygiene we learnt as kids.

OK, but what about other people?

If we forget to wash our hands and then handle THEIR food, isn’t it our fault?

And isn’t that what happened?

Staph bacteria transferred to the burger, instant food poisoning – game over.

But nothing happened to you, because most of the time it doesn’t. Staph can grow naturally on the skin or in the nose of around 25% of us – all quite safe unless it gets on food.

Which is what hand washing is all about.

Death by negligence

So if you didn’t wash your hands, isn’t that negligence?

And if somebody dies because of it, isn’t that murder?

Not intended or pre-empted or anything, but a cause of death nevertheless.

Death by negligence. Murder, right?

At the very least manslaughter, or culpable homicide.

Yes, culpable – because we all know about washing hands before touching food, don’t we?

A doctor could get struck off for that.

And friends can die from it.

It’s not some ritual we can shrug off, or a matter of conscience. It’s a vital safety measure.

Like turning off power, keeping matches in a safe place, locking the front door, using a seat belt, wearing a crash helmet, checking a gun’s safety catch is on. Forget the last three of those, and we could wind up in court.

So why not washing hands too? It’s not a game or some silly habit. Nurses and doctors prove it every day in hospital – WASHING HANDS SAVES LIVES.

Or not washing them kills. Guilty, or not guilty? Murder or no?

Hold that thought – nag, nag, nag.

The life you save may be your own.