Posts By Date

Aquamarine Blue Missing Link Chain

Injecting the operator perspective

Handwashing advice, guidelines, training, and even the science, is available from a plethora of sources. The answer to sustainable gains in handwashing compliance is buried in decades of endeavors, some reported but most are confined to frustrated frontline supervisors. The new CFI/OSU-Handwashing For Life® partnership seeks to leverage available resources by taking the science and splicing in the mission-critical labor force factors.


This “missing-link” graphic strives to visually summarize the handwashing resource situation and applied-science solution. We have the science, technology and know-how, represented by each link. Now is the time to gather data from the scattered resources and convert anecdotal inputs into evidence-based answers.


Yes, data is the missing link. And yes, research is required to forge this vital link. Harnessing the operator learning will be achieved by engaging them at the research design phase. “Will this research provide my management and ownership with a picture so clear that they can align the handwashing process with their corporate tolerance for risk?” Risk-based conclusions will replace fact-free decisions.


The FDA’s Model Food Code will continue to provide basic advice to shape local inspections and achieve minimum standards. It is predicted that operators will increasingly be choosing the better public safety handwashing alternatives, led by evidence-rich research.

Jim MannJim Mann

Handwashing For Life Founder and Research Correspondent



Posted In:
Comments: 0
Missing Link

A peer-reviewed definition of a Clean Hand

There is a need for research that gives operators the evidence-based data required to balance their handwashing risk with the benefits of an enduring solution. Operators are now being sought by the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention (CFI) and Handwashing For Life®(HFL) to help design the research necessary to provide irrefutable proof that data can deliver a sustainable solution – proof that data is the missing link to: self-motivated compliance, minimized outbreaks and the protection of brand values.

“What is the missing link in helping operators reduce their risk from poor handwashing?” This has been the core of discussions between HFL and CFI. The best answer we could come up with... there are gaps in the science, leaving the operators to make decisions without the evidence.

Handwashing compliance is rarely measured. What is your process and who is accountable? If we have a problem, who owns it?

There are many contributing factors that exist as hurdles or headwinds to raising handwashing performance. First, the risk will never be zero. Second, while the severity of the risk could be devastating to brand values, the probability of an outbreak is low. Third, the power of the status quo – no recent outbreaks. Fourth, the food handler experience – poor example by their supervisors and indefensible processes. Fifth, there is no way to keep score, no mile markers on the path to continuous improvement.

This combination of barriers can result in management complacency and analysis paralysis. Operators already have liability insurance as well as a public relations/legal team if an outbreak occurs. The status quo lives on.

Defining a “starting line” for such a project became CFI/HFL’s first joint research charge: to define a “clean hand”. A team of 20 potential peer reviewers agreed on this expression in words, knowing full well scientific research would be needed to add numbers, particularly to the nebulous term, “unlikely”:

A Clean Hand in the foodservice and food processing industries is one that is unlikely to transfer pathogens from the hand to food, surfaces or directly to other people.

A CFP issue has been submitted to re-create the Handwashing Committee in 2023. CFI/HFL are looking forward to supporting that endeavor, provided it is accepted. Stay tuned as we will be reporting progress as available.

A special thanks goes out to our reviewers, the very busy experts from a broad spectrum of experience including both the science and the applied science. Our next move is to match up the scientific protocols with the decision-support needed to help operators better protect their customers, staff, and brand value.

Jim MannJim Mann

Handwashing For Life Founder and Research Correspondent



Posted In:
Comments: 0