A Comparison of Hand Washing Techniques To Remove Escherichia coli and Caliciviruses under Natural or Artificial Fingernails
Abstract:Compared with other parts of the hand, the area beneath fingernails harbors the most microorganisms and is most difficult to clean. Artificial fingernails, which are usually long and polished, reportedly harbor higher microbial populations than natural nails. Hence, the efficacy of different hand washing methods for removing microbes from natural and artificial fingernails was evaluated. Strains of nonpathogenic Escherichia coli JM109 and feline calicivirus (FCV) strain F9 were used as bacterial and viral indicators, respectively. Volunteers with artificial or natural nails were artificially contaminated with ground beef containing E. coli JM109 or artificial feces containing FCV. Volunteers washed their hands with tap water, regular liquid soap, antibacterial liquid soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel, regular liquid soap followed by alcohol gel, or regular liquid soap plus a nailbrush. The greatest reduction of inoculated microbial populations was obtained by washing with liquid soap plus a nailbrush, and the least reduction was obtained by rubbing hands with alcohol gel. Lower but not significantly different (P > 0.05) reductions of E. coli and FCV counts were obtained from beneath artificial than from natural fingernails. However, significantly (P ≤ 0.05) higher E. coli and FCV counts were recovered from hands with artificial nails than from natural nails before and after hand washing. In addition, microbial cell numbers were correlated with fingernail length, with greater numbers beneath fingernails with longer nails. These results indicate that best practices for fingernail sanitation of food handlers are to maintain short fingernails and scrub fingernails with soap and a nailbrush when washing hands.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Center for Food Safety, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, Georgia 30223-1797 2: Georgia-Pacific Corporation, Palatka, Florida 32178-0919 3: Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3186, USA
Publication date: December 1, 2003
- IAFP Members with personal subscriptions to JFP Online: To access full-text JFP or JMFT articles, you must sign-in in the upper-right corner using your Ingenta sign-in details (your IAFP Member Login does not apply to this website). The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.
Print and online subscriptions are available to IAFP Members and institutional subscribers. IAFP Members with a subscription to JFP Online will have access to all available JFP and JMFT content. Online visitors who are not IAFP Members or journal subscribers will be charged on a pay-per-view basis. Membership and subscription information is available at www.foodprotection.org.
- Information for Authors
- Submit a Paper
- Subscribe to this Title
- Membership Information
- Information for Advertisers
- Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites