International -

Please don’t touch

Even after the end of the major EHEC epidemic, EHEC cases still crop up. These are frequently caused by indirect cross-contamination from dirty hands, i.e. disease-producing microorganisms on the hands get into foods. The only way to counter this is with adequate hygiene. One suitable aid is contactless dispenser systems for soap, disinfectant and towels. According to the Food Hygiene Regulations (LMHV), every company that manufactures, processes or sells food is responsible to determine all steps in the process workflow that are critical for food safety, to monitor and document these consistently as well as to define the appropriate safety measures. In the food industry and restaurant business, in addition to the requirements for sales and preparation rooms, personal hygiene is of the utmost importance when it comes to complying with LMHV rules.

One component of personal hygiene is hygiene at the workplace. This includes, for example, clothes, devices and rooms. It goes without saying that the cleanliness of these is the first commandment. The second element of personal hygiene is individual hygiene. In addition to general body hygiene, this especially involves the cleanliness of the hands. Because food-spoiling or disease-inducing germs are transferred by immediate contact with the hands, hand hygiene plays a significant role. The LMHV requires that the hands must always be kept clean. This means that the hands and lower arms must be washed several times a day with liquid soap and warm water, especially before beginning to work, after breaks and after every use of the toilet. Disinfectant must be used as well. Suitable dispensers must be used for soap and disinfectant.

The only question is which dispenser systems are adequate. Conventional systems that require the press of a finger to obtain soap from the dispenser fulfill the minimum hygiene rules for hand hygiene but do not entirely exclude the possibility of cross-contamination because touch is still involved. Soap and towel dispensers with sensor technology clearly hold hygienic and economic advantages.

Dispensers equipped with special sensor technology that allow them to be used with absolutely no touch at all are not only hygienically better. Waldemar Lechelt, Managing Director of Egepack (Burgwedel, Germany) says, “As a large national wholesaling cooperative that includes 13 major wholesalers, we have supplied hygiene and packaging articles to the food industry and restaurants for many years. Especially since the EHEC epidemic last year, we have seen a great rise in our customers’ awareness when it comes to hygiene. Many of them have converted to contactless dispenser systems because the advantages are obvious. Contactless dispensers - e.g. the brand Lotus enMotion - enable the user to hold his or her hand in front of the electronic sensor on the soap dispenser to receive a dose of foam soap or disinfectant. The situation with paper towels is similar. Because such dispensers do not need to be touched, cross-contamination is nearly out of the question, which results in the greatest degree of hygiene. Such dispenser systems thus ideally fulfill LMHV requirements. In addition to cleanliness, sensor technology also offers a further advantage: the sensitivity of sensors, the length of the towel dispensed and the time needed to roll out the towel can be manually adjusted to ensure sparing use. In this manner, these dispensers simultaneously help save money.”

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