REMOVAL OF ESCHERICHIA COLI ON HANDS WITH NATURAL OR ARTIFICIAL FINGERNAILS

[Poster presentation, IAFP Annual Meeting, June 30-July 3, 2002; San Diego, CA]

Poor personal hygiene of food handlers has been a factor in transmitting causes of several foodborne illness outbreaks.  The areas underneath fingernails harbor microorganisms.  Long fingernails harbor higher microbial populations than short nails, and artificial nails harbor higher populations than natural nails.  This presentation evaluates the efficiency of different hand washing methods to remove microorganisms from underneath fingernails.  The results show that “physical elimination such as scrubbed by a nailbrush was a critical step to remove microorganisms from areas underneath fingernails.”