Handwashing

1 in 5 Australians don’t always wash their hands after going to the toilet

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

The Food Safety Information Council today released research that shows more than 20 per cent of Australians admit that they don’t always wash their hand after going to the toilet. Presenting the findings at the Accord Cleaning & Hygiene Conference in Sydney Lydia Buchtmann, the Council’s Communication Director, said the research indicated that public health risk could be even greater as nearly 40 per cent of respondents also admitted that they didn’t always wash their hands before touching food.

Journal/conference: AOSDAC19 Cleaning & Hygiene Conference, Sydney

Organisation/s: Food Safety Information Council

Funder: The consumer research was funded by a charitable donation by Symbio Australia which manufactures cleaning products for hospitality, food processors, aged care and educational organisations, they do not produce products for consumers.

Media Release

From: Food Safety Information Council

The Food Safety Information Council today released research that shows more than 20% of Australians admit that they don’t always wash their hand after going to the toilet.

Presenting the findings at the AOSDAC19 Cleaning & Hygiene Conference in Sydney Lydia Buchtmann, the Council’s Communication Director, said the research indicated that public health risk could be even greater as nearly 40% of respondents also admitted that they didn’t always wash their hands before touching food.

‘Good handwashing, using running water, soap and drying hands thoroughly is a basic public health message that people seem to be forgetting. A fifth of Australians say they don’t always wash their hands after going to the toilet and more than a third admit they don’t always wash before touching food. This behaviour could be contributing to the estimated 4.1million cases of food poisoning each year not to mention spreading viral infections such as cold, influenza and norovirus,’ Ms Buchtmann said.

‘The research shows gender differences as men were less likely than women to always wash hands after going to the toilet (76% of men versus 82% of women) and before touching food (59% men versus 66% women). Young people were less likely than older age groups to always wash their hands after going to the toilet (69% under 34 years versus 86% over 50 years) and before touching food (59% under 34 versus 63% over 50). Poor handwashing knowledge among young people is also a concern as they often become professional food handlers.

‘The Food Safety Information Council’s advice is to always wash and dry your hands:
* before handling, preparing and eating food
* after touching raw meat, fish, shell eggs or poultry
* after using the toilet, attending to children’s (or others) toiletting and changing nappies
* after blowing your nose
* after touching a pet
* after gardening

‘We have launched an education package today including a video and posters for adults and children that give these 4 simple tips for hand washing correctly:
1. Wet your hands and rub together well to build up a good lather with soap for at least 20 seconds and don’t forget to wash between your fingers and under your nails. You might have to use a nail brush
2. Rinse well under running water to remove the bugs from your hands
3. Dry your hands thoroughly on a clean towel for at least 20 seconds. Touching surfaces with moist hands encourages bugs to spread from the surface to your hands
4. If no running water is available use alcohol gel.

‘This package can be downloaded from our website here and we encourage people to watch the video and to put up the posters at home, in their workplace, or at school. We are also seeking sponsorship to fund handwashing campaigns in indigenous communities and specifically for younger Australians, ’ Ms Buchtmann concluded.

The Food Safety Information Council would like to thank their members Symbio Australia who made this research possible through a charitable donation and Accord Australasia for their in kind support.

Attachments:

News for:

Australia

Multimedia:

  • How to wash your hands correctly

    Hand washing is an important public health message. Watch how to wash your hands correctly to reduce the risk of food poisoning and viral infections like influenza or norovirus.

    File Size: 68.9 MB

    Attribution: Food Safety Information Council

    Permission Category: Free to share or modify (must credit)

    Last Modified: 23 Oct 2019 7:17am

    Note: High resolution video files are only available for download here by registered journalists who are logged in.

  • Hand washing poster for kids
    Hand washing poster for kids

    Reduce the risk of your kids getting food poisoning or viral infections like flu or norovirus by teaching them simple hand washing processes

    File size: 460.2 KB

    Attribution: Food Safety Information Council

    Permission category: Free to share or modify (must credit)

    Last modified: 24 Oct 2019 12:02am

    NOTE: High resolution files can only be downloaded here by registered journalists who are logged in.

  • Hand washing poster for adults
    Hand washing poster for adults

    Reduce your risk of getting food poisoning or viral infections like flu or norovirus by learning simple hand washing processes

    File size: 437.3 KB

    Attribution: Food Safety Information Council

    Permission category: Free to share or modify (must credit)

    Last modified: 24 Oct 2019 12:05am

    NOTE: High resolution files can only be downloaded here by registered journalists who are logged in.

Show less
Show more

Media contact details for this story are only visible to registered journalists.