Once touted as a convenient and sanitary aid in handwashing, touchless hot air hand dryers are in a multitude of public restrooms. However, during a recent study performed at the University of Connecticut, scientists discovered that hot-air hand dryers do more than remove water from your skin, they blast bacteria onto your hands and circulate fecal matter throughout the restroom.
Food Safety Certified Managers and Bacteria from Hand Dryers
Minnesota Food Code rules do allow for your facility to employ the use of heated hand dryers as long as they are not “the only device provided at the sink,” but given this current study, we think discussing the use of these devices in your kitchen or public restrooms would be prudent.
Touchless hand dryers provide a convenience for guests and save money on supplies by not wasting disposable paper towels, but is equipping restrooms with devices that actually cover users with invisible particles of fecal matter in the best interest of food safety?
To be on the safe side, we suggest you consider automated paper towel dispensers as a replacement for forced-air hand dryers. These provide the opportunity to procure a paper towel with a wave of the hand and avoid contact with a potentially contaminated surface.
Now may also be a good time to make sure that all of your restrooms are equipped with a current handwashing fact sheet.
It will be interesting to see how health departments and the food-service industry will react to this information in the future. Considering the results of this study, will you still be utilizing hot-air hand dryers in your restrooms?