Wash. Your. Hands. This simple act can do so much to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. Lately, this has been highlighted most unwelcomingly with a continued outbreak of the hepatitis A virus nationally. The virus, which infects the liver, can cause symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. that may last weeks to months.
According to the FDA, though only representing a portion of cases in the US, cases from food handling are a significant concern for food industry stakeholders and consumers, as well: “The majority of hepatitis A infections are from unknown causes or from being in close contact with an infected person; however, some hepatitis A infections are caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Contamination of food and water can occur when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate handwashing hygiene.” From handling food in the fields to the food service counter, hepatitis A should be considered a serious foodborne threat…but one that can be combated.
In terms of foodborne cases, hand hygiene is a key method of defending against the virus (vaccination is the best way to prevent, overall) for the food industry and for consumers. According to the CDC, “Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.”
As part of our commitment to helping customers make safe, quality food, we offer an array of hand hygiene solutions for the food and beverage industries. To check out our latest Hand Hygiene Products flyer, click here. Our product specialists are also available to help you develop the right program to make hand hygiene a frontline defense against foodborne illness.