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Issue Number: Council III 007


Rationale for 100 degree F. hot water at hand sink.

Issue you would like the Conference to consider

There is currently no scientific research that shows hand washing is more effective at removing pathogens when warm water is used as compared to cold water usage. The FDA Food Code currently requires 100o F water at the hand sink. At the 2010 CFP Biennial Meeting, the Conference recommended changing the water temp at hand sinks to 85o F; however, this was not adopted when FDA issued the Supplement to the 2009 Food Code. Is there research or a scientific basis for requiring 100o F water at the hand sink? If not, will the FDA sponsor, support or encourage research to validate the best handwashing water temperature?

Public Health Significance

Proper handwashing is one of the three pillars for preventing foodborne illness transmitted by food handlers. The objective of water temperature needs to focus on what will encourage and promote more routine and frequent handwashing. Currently, we justify the water temperature requirement based mostly on soft science:

1. Warm water is more conducive to encourage employee hand washing;

2. Warm water is more effective at removing soils in the food environment;

3. ASTM standards require 100-108o F water for testing soap formulation's efficacy.

Is there any research available to justify 100o F water at hand sinks? In fact, the only research we are currently aware of shows just the opposite. Research by Michaels and Paulsen (attached) came to the conclusion that, "The initial experiment involved testing with bland non-antimicrobial soap at 5 temperatures from 4.4°C (40°F) to 49°C (120°F). Independent of soil or bacterial type (resident or transient) there was no significant difference in efficacy attributed to water temperature."

Studies designed to determine the best temperature for handwashing could put to rest the current confusion and debates as to what water temperature should be available at a handsink for hand washing.

Recommended Solution: The Conference recommends...

that a letter be sent to FDA requesting that they support and/or fund scientific research that would justify the appropriate water temperature for handwashing at a hand sink.


Submitter Information

Name Dale Yamnik, REHS, CP-FS
Organization Yum! Brands, Inc.
Address 542 Eaglestone Drive
Castle Rock, CO 80104
Telephone 303-708-1536
Fax 303-660-2429
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