Alcohol has an extensive history in safely reducing the risk of infections. There are references back to biblical times of using wine to cleanse wounds. Its success as a hand sanitizer was confirmed during the global COVID experience, and recommended for use where hands are not visually contaminated.
Restaurant clientele now expect to have ready access to Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer (ABHS) and are heartened when they see staff taking this step of extra care. Use of ABHS has found its way into the back-of-house as a “final touch”, following a soap-water wash for added germ-kill.
Further hand sanitizer studies explored applications where hands are visually soiled. First it was for a USA military application in the desert of Iraq and later in a produce-harvesting field operation in North America. Both were more successful than expected. The “military” process results were published in the Journal of Food Protection, reporting performance as equivalent or superior to handwashing with soap and water….
The “farmhand” research, conducted by Emory University, found that “ABHS is an efficacious hand hygiene solution for produce handlers, even on soiled hands.”, again published in the Journal of Food Protection:
The military and farmhand processes are the same, using ABHS for both germ kill and cleaning, aided by the friction of a paper towel step, followed by a second application of the hand sanitizer. This process has been dubbed SaniTwice®. Operators are advised to select an ABHS product successfully tested against human Norovirus (hNoV).
Comparative HNV Efficacy of ABHRs Frontiers in Microbiology 7Apr22:
Comparative Assessment of the Efficacy of Commercial Hand Sanitizers Against Human Norovirus Evaluated by an in vivo Fingerpad Method https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2022.869087/full
Both those studies showed significant pathogen reduction after the paper toweling step, without the second ABHS application. Hence was born SaniOnce™.
Stay tuned as the SaniOnce™ process will soon be directly compared to soap-water washing and will take its place in the operator’s Food Safety, Risk Assessment toolbox.
Temporary bars and food service locations, including Food Trucks, Trains, and Airlines want to have these options available to meet special situations that arise unexpectedly but are blocked by regulators, unwilling to accept independent lab data and the statements expressed in the Journal of Food Protection.
Anecdotal research indicates greater hand cleansing compliance when untethered from a handsink. A “non-handwash” moment is replaced by the convenience of an ABHS “wash.”