JAMESTOWN, NC -- You've seen the signs in the restaurant restrooms, "Employees must wash hands before returning to work". But a restaurant recently lost points because an employee didn't wash his hands "when required."
The bathroom is a given, but when are some of those other required times? Chef and G-T-C-C instructor Keith Gardiner says the list is long.
It includes: touching your hair, touching your face, after sneezing, coughing, using a tissue, smoking, eating, drinking, chewing gum or tobacco.
But it doesn't stop there: handling chemicals that might affect food safety, cleaning tables or bussing dirty dishes, taking out the garbage, touching clothes or aprons, touching anything else that can contaminate the food content such as dirty equipment, work surfaces, wiping towels is a reason to wash your hands.
"People don't think about putting their hand in their pocket as being dirty but you know your phone could've fallen on the seat of your car or on the floor. Your keys could have fallen down the floor. Your wallet has money in it. Money is very dirty it has a lot of bacteria and viruses."
Keith adds, the best rule is any time you do something new, wash your hands anytime you touch anything, wash your hands.
Improper hand washing or lack of hand washing is the number one cause of food borne illness - cross-contamination from the employees hands. So the number one thing you can do in a restaurant or at home to keep yourself safe is to wash your hands often.
Restaurants can lose up to four points for this violation.