Importance of Hand Washing in Food Service Industry

Every quarter, Sullivan University chef /nutritionist Cynthia Chandler leads her students to begin the use of sanitary practices in the kitchen. She stresses that the customers have a right to wholesome food, which she defines as food that is safe to eat. “Just because a food is wholesome does not mean it is healthy,” says Chandler, adding, “But keep in mind people are not always searching for the healthiest food. While a hamburger from a fast food chain may not be the healthiest choice, each customer has the right to receive a hamburger free from disease-causing microorganisms.

Hand washing is the easiest way to prevent the spread of disease-bearing organisms. Always make sure the water is clean and running. The students in the

Food Safety and Sanitation course are taught to wash their hands by scrubbing for a minimum of 15 seconds – more if necessary. The number of times they are taught to wash depends on how often they can contaminate a customer’s food, including before touching a plate or glass, after clearing a table, after taking out the garbage, after coughing, and before making sandwiches.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not as effective as hand washing but do a very good job at reducing microorganisms. Sullivan culinary students are taught to use hand sanitizer only after washing their hands.

This food safety class is a required course for all of Sullivan University’s hospitality and culinary students, and is usually taken the very first quarter to insure hygienic practices in the kitchen.

About the Author:

Cynthia Chandler is a faculty member who joined Sullivan University as a nutrition and food service sanitation instructor.  She came to Sullivan after a varied career in both hospital and university affiliated positions. Cynthia completed her undergraduate degree in Dietetics and Institution Administration from Western Kentucky University. She went on to the University of Kentucky, where she was awarded a master’s degree with honors in Clinical Nutrition from the College of Allied Health.  Upon graduation, she sat for and successfully passed the board for the American Dietetic Association to become a registered dietitian.  She is a licensed dietitian and a certified nutritionist in the state of Kentucky. She is also licensed in the state of Florida as a dietician.

Cynthia has served on the board of the American Association of Diabetes Educators and is a current member of the Food and Culinary Professionals Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association, The American Culinary Federation, The Kentucky Dietetic Association, and the Association of Food and Nutrition Professionals.

Cynthia completed her culinary training at Sullivan University in the winter of 2010.  She has developed and conducted workshops on canning, healthy southern cuisine and healthy menu ideas, in conjunction with her chef colleagues.


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