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Issue Number: Council III 015


Temperature of Water for Handwashing Sinks

Issue you would like the Conference to consider

To make the language in section 5-202.12 requiring handwashing sinks to be equipped to provide water at least at 38°C (100°F), consistent with that of 2-301.12 where "warm water" is required for handwashing.

Public Health Significance

Handwashing is a vital step in providing food safety and successful handwashing requires several steps to be effective. The mechanical action of washing one's hands, use of soap, length of time hands are washed, rinsing, hand drying and proper handwash training, have all been noted as important factors in accomplishing proper hand washing. Sighting a specific threshold temperature of the water being supplied to the handwashing sink does not predicate successful handwashing, which can be accomplished at various water temperatures. Food Code 2-301.12 recommends to use "warm water" rather than water at a specific temperature. This is supported by work of Michaels et al (2002) which concluded that there was no statistical difference between log reductions in both resident or transient bacteria based on water temperature. This paper also suggested that use of higher water temperatures contributed to drying of skin, which may result in a disincentive for hand washing. Personal water temperature preferences may also encourage food handlers to wash their hands more frequent, for a longer time.

Recommended Solution: The Conference recommends...

that a letter be sent to the FDA recommending changes to the Food Code section 5-202.12 Handwashing Sink, Installation to read as follows:

5-202.12 Handwashing Sink, Installation.

(A) A handwashing sink shall be equipped to provide warm water at a temperature of at least 38oC (100oF) through a mixing valve or combination faucet. Pf


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