CTAHR Joins Forces with Hawaii Organizations to Promote Hand Washing at Food Service Establishments

New sticker for food service establishments promotes healthful message

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Nov 21, 2003

According to medical experts, the simple act of washing hands before preparing food, and after using the bathroom, can make a huge impact towards reducing some food-related illnesses. In an effort to promote this message amongst Hawaiʻi residents and visitors, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) has collaborated with the Hawaiʻi Departments of Health and Agriculture, and five food-related trade associations to create a sticker to be placed on the walls of restroom facilities in food service establishments reminding people to wash their hands.

The sticker, which is available for free to food service establishments, simply says, "Foodhandlers…wash your hands with soap before handling food and after using the toilet." The 8.5" x 11" sticker is in full color and promotes its healthful message in 14 languages.

Optimally, health officials recommend washing hands with soap for 20 seconds with hot water. According to Dr. Aurora Saulo of CTAHR, "anyone who washes their hands regularly can reduce the potential of infections by 35-50 percent and gastrointestinal illness by up to 80 percent."

"With Thanksgiving around the corner, the sticker will help create awareness and action within the food service industry in Hawaiʻi and this can significantly reduce the potential of foodborne illness," says Lance Wong of the Hawaiʻi Department of Health‘s Sanitation Branch.

CTAHR‘s Jim Hollyer, who created the sticker along with colleagues Dennis Miyahara, Lynn Nakamura-Tengan and Aurora Saulo, is very excited about the potential impact of the sticker.

"It is not often in life that you get to have this much impact on the health and well-being of others; it‘s a great feeling," said Hollyer.

"Hand washing is everyone‘s responsibility and everyone will benefit if we do it more often," said Nakamura-Tengan.

The sticker is available for free to food service establishments, including farms, food wholesalers, restaurants, schools and healthcare facilities. The stickers can be picked up at the Hawaiʻi Department of Health‘s Sanitation Branch offices on all islands. The sticker comes in two models, one for drywall surfaces and one for metal and tile.

Joining CTAHR and the Hawaiʻi Departments of Health and Agriculture on this collaborative project are the Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau Federation, the Hawaiʻi Restaurant Association, the Hawaiʻi Food Industry Association, the Hawaiʻi Food and Beverage Association, and the Hawaiʻi Food Manufacturers Association.

For more information, please call Lance Wong of the Hawaiʻi Department of Health‘s Sanitation Branch at (808) 586-8000.