1. It’s a legal obligation
The legislation is very clear on hand washing when operating ANY food business.
It states that:
- A separate hand washing facility must be provided
- It must have hot and cold (or appropriately mixed running water)
- Alcohol gels are not acceptable on their own but can be used in addition to a hand washing system
- Materials should be available for cleaning hands (ie anti-bacterial soap)
- Materials should be available for drying hands (ie paper towels – not a tea towel)
This applies regardless of the type of food business you are operating, from gourmet street food set-ups and roadside burger vans, to vegan restaurants and bistros.
2. You’re less likely to give someone food poisoning
(and therefore not go to prison and/or pay a fine)
Did you know that faecal bacteria are present on 26% of hands in the UK, 14% of banknotes and 10% of credit cards?
The legislation on hand washing is there to stop food poisoning and therefore prevent making someone very ill and at worse dying. If you don’t follow these principles and are found guilty of causing a food poisoning incident the maximum penalty is 2 years and an unlimited fine.
3. You won’t get a good Food Hygiene Rating score
Like it or not the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is here to stay. In Wales it is now a legal obligation for all food businesses to display their score and is likely to be implemented in England and Northern Ireland. If you don’t have a separate hand washing unit then you are clearly breaking the law. At best you won’t score well and at worst your business could be closed down.
4. It makes customers more likely to buy your food
(and therefore you’ll make more money!)
When running a mobile or street food business there’s nowhere to hide; the customers can see what you’re doing and your food hygiene practices are on full display. If customers can see that you’re regularly washing your hands they know that you care about the food you sell and those who eat it. Therefore, they’re more likely to buy your food and come back for more.
5. It improves the image of the industry
Fortunately due to years of development, our sector’s image has changed radically thanks to improved quality in catering units, food and hygiene levels. By operating properly you will be playing your part in demonstrating what best practice looks like in the industry, which in turn will benefit us all.