Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Are your hands clean?

I would be the first to say that my house is not a temple to sanitised cleanliness. I do not rush about dusting, wiping, cleaning, washing and the rest at every available moment. If I did, I would be doing nothing else, certainly not blogging nor having a laugh with my friends. I doubt there'd even be time to have a TWDB.

However, of one thing I am a stickler, and that is having clean hands when preparing food. Note that I don't say I'm a stickler about having clean hands all the time. That would make me an obsessive compulsive and a pain in the butt to live with.
It seems though, that not everyone is dedicated to preparing food hygienically. I read, with some horror yesterday, the article in The Times on the issue of clean hands. Some research has been carried out into how clean are peoples' hands, and, averaged out, it shows that more than one in four Britons had faecal matter on their hands.


It's an easy leap then, to believe a report carried out in France (I don't have a link) which showed that when bowls of peanuts in a bar were analysed, traces of urine, poo, sperm, blood (vaginal) and so on all popped up. Makes you feel quite faint, doesn't it? I for one will be thinking twice before plunging my hand into a bowl of communal nibbles from now on.

The British study compared seven countries including the US, Germany, South Africa and Saudi Arabia. Britain was the third worst nation for germs after India and Malaysia. Considering that the Brits always take the piss out of the French for their supposed lack of cleanliness, it comes as rather a shock, to me anyway.

It found that
"33 per cent of surfaces in British homes covered in E. coli, faecal matter and other dangerous pathogens spread by dirty hands."
Think on next time you're eating at a friend's house...

Of course, resistance to bugs is important, so a certain exposure is essential if we're not to end up over-sanitising everything resulting in risking infection from every Tom Bug and Harry. I have an iron-clad stomach - it even resisted the trials of a year in Egypt back in the 80s - and am rarely ill. The boys too seem to be able to ward off gastro problems of a bacterial origin.

There are limits, however, to testing the strength of my insides hence the importance of clean hands before touching food.

Oh, and one last thing, you might have washed your hands after going to a public loo, but did the person before you who just grasped the door handle on their way out?

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