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The focus for National Food Safety Week 2005 is the importance of hand washing.

Hackney Council’s environmental health team will be organising an information stall on Ridley Road Market, 17 June from 10am. Come along to find out about food safety and pick up some freebies.

Did you know that the simplest, most effective food safety technique is washing our hands? Keeping our hands clean is a crucial line of defence against harmful bacteria and getting in the habit of washing them regularly will pay off for a lifetime.

When we take food home for preparation, we bring it into an environment already contaminated with countless germs of everyday life. We touch dozens of materials and surfaces around the house, all of which will contain bacteria of one kind or another. Most of these bacteria are harmless - but some of them, if they come into contact with our food, can lead to a nasty case of food poisoning or even serious illness.


PICTURED (clockwise): Mr. Andrew Foster Head of Environmental Health, Councillor Jessica Crowe, London Borough of Hackney Deputy Mayor, Dr. Yunes Teinaz ICC Health & Management Advisor to the Director


Councillor Jessica Crowe, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Environment, said:

“Hackney Council’s environmental health team does a lot of work to ensure that businesses operate in a way that doesn’t harm their customers. They regularly check that retailers and restaurants handle food in the correct way. This year’s campaign shows that food safety is also important at home. Something as simple as proper hand washing can have a huge impact on your health and the safety of your family.”

When should I wash my hands?

• before touching and eating food

• after handling raw foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, fruit and veg and before touching any other food or kitchen utensils

• after touching or emptying rubbish bins

• after going to the toilet or changing nappies

• after playing with pets; and

• after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose

How should I clean them?

• use soap and hot water

• rub your hands together vigorously – remember both sides and the wrists

• around the thumbs, between every finger, the fingertips and around and under the nails

• rinse with clean water; and

• dry hands thoroughly with a clean dry towel, paper towel or under a hot air dryer

Did you know?

• Up to half of all men and a quarter of women fail to wash their hands after they’ve been to the toilet.

• Right handed people tend to wash their left hand more thoroughly than their right hand, and vice versa.

• We have between 2 and 10 million bacteria between fingertip and elbow.

• Damp hands spread 1,000 times more germs than dry hands.

• The number of germs on your fingertips doubles after you use the toilet.

• Germs can stay alive on hands for up to three hours.

• Millions of germs hide under watches and bracelets and there could be as many germs under your ring as there are people in Europe.

To contact Hackney’s environmental health team call 020 8356 4911

National Food Safety Week - 13-19 June 2005. The annual National Food Safety Week aims to highlight the importance of food safety and the basic principles of food hygiene. For further details, visit

Photo opportunity: Jessica Crowe will be at Hackney Council’s food safety stall on Ridley Road Market on 17 June 11.30-12pm. Please let Mary Anna know if you wish to attend.