We don’t want no scrubs…that is, unless you’re talking about handwashing! October 15 is Global Handwashing Day, and NTF is celebrating by focusing on the first step of the Core Four food safety practices: Clean.

Germs can easily spread a variety of ways, including on cooking surfaces or utensils and through human contact. A 2016 observational study found that a startling 65 percent of consumers did not wash their hands before starting meal preparation! While foodborne bacteria can’t be seen, tasted or smelled, it can be harmful if ingested.

It may sound obvious, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading harmful germs to others. In the kitchen, handwashing is a critical step in preparing healthy, safe meals and preventing foodborne illness.

The CDC recommends five key steps to handwashing:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

You wouldn’t skip a step in a recipe when preparing a meal, so be sure not to forget this important food safety practice to keep your loved ones healthy. Help lend a (clean) hand in stopping the spread of germs by sharing these valuable tips with others!