The burden of foodborne illness continues to have a major impact on a global scale. Each year in industrialized countries it is estimated that up to 30% of people suffer from foodborne illnesses and 20 persons per million of the population will die. When total numbers of infections, hospitalizations/doctor’s visits and deaths are all taken into consideration, the global cost of preventable foodborne illness potentially exceeds $350 Billion.
There are many contributing factors to foodborne illness, such as handling money and employees working when they are ill. Studies have shown that more than 50% of food workers attend work while ill and that about 20% of all foodborne illness outbreaks can be traced to ill food workers who contaminated food. Foodborne illness outbreaks are all too common, and while the US based National Restaurant Association (NRA) states the average cost of an outbreak to an establishment is $75,000, it can easily be several magnitudes higher based on the circumstances. One of the most significant issues presented by plaintiff attorneys in damages litigation is whether it could have been prevented.
Of the 200 different human diseases transmitted by food and water, 80% can be transmitted by hands. This is not surprising when studies reveal that:
- one quarter of all food workers don’t wash their hands;
- one out of three caterers do not wash their hands even after using the toilet; and
- over 50% of caterers don’t wash their hands, even before preparing food.
Maintaining hand-hygiene can be challenging for employees and is often due to:
- lack of availability and proximity of hand-hygiene products;
- time constraints;
- dry, chapped or irritated skin;
- assumptions that hands, not being visibly dirty, are not in need of cleaning.
Exposure to these infectious diseases together with poor hand-hygiene can contribute to:
- absenteeism from work due to poor health;
- reduced efficiency and mistakes at work due to employees being ill;
- "presenteeism" – where infected employees, being at work, infect others;
- foodborne illness outbreaks;
- loss of income or stock value due to bad publicity;
- direct and contingent costs associated with an outbreak including medical bills and claim settlement costs;
- a food service firm's business being closed by Health and Safety inspectors.
The Orbel™ Instant Hand Sanitizer Applicator
The Orbel™ is a portable hand sanitizer reservoir and applicator that conveniently dispenses highly effective hand sanitizer by way of a swipe of a hand. Its portability and ease of use makes it a convenient and accessible solution, enabling employees to maintain good hand-hygiene irrespective of activity type or location, whilst preventing loss in productivity and customer service.
The Orbel™ is available with a highly effective hand sanitizer (ethyl-alcohol or water-based formulation) that has the ability to kill and neutralize the 15 different viral, bacterial and parasitic pathogens identified as being transmitted by infected food workers via contaminated hands. Within any given workplace, a wide range of respiratory and dermal infections can be present and the always present and easy to use Orbel™ applicator is just a hand motion away from maintaining health and wellbeing. Should a food worker or members of their family be infected with a gastrointestinal infection, the personal Orbel™ applicator is always an available defence in between the infectious disease and the handled food.
Used in conjunction with regular hand washing, Orbel™ use can pay for itself by saving a significant amount of time in environments when gloves are used (before and after being donned) or by reducing hand washing frequency when hands are not visibly soiled (handling money). Not only does the Orbel™ applicator save time and protect employees and customers from various food-borne pathogens, respiratory and dermal infections, it:
- helps contribute to increased work performance and productivity;
- can contribute to the reduction and cost of absenteeism from illness. Reports estimate that absenteeism costs the US economy alone some $227 billion a year due to lost productivity associated with illness;
- demonstrates commitment to customer and employee health and wellbeing and forming the cornerstone of any workplace wellness program;
- complements existing hand-hygiene protocols;
- habituates good hand-hygiene practice;
- reduces costs associated with illness to employees;
- significantly improves employer health and safety compliance regimes;
- mitigates the risk of foodborne illness outbreak;
- is cost effective when measured by ROI.
In addition to the benefits the Orbel™ brings to employees; it is a visible demonstration and reminder to customers and the community of a commitment to food safety and hygiene policy.
The Orbel™ Advantage: Increasing Compliance, Reducing Risks & Upgrading Safety Perception
1. Visibly safe and effective
hand-hygiene is a prerequisite to maintaining high standards of food safety and consumer confidence. The Orbel™ personal hand sanitizer applicator is extremely convenient, saves time (when compared to existing hand sanitizer systems) and provides a visible reminder to food workers and guests that food safety is of the highest priority.
2. Operated by one hand
The Orbel™ applicator protects food from hand contamination by being loaded with approximately 60 doses of highly effective water-based or ethyl-alcohol hand sanitizer.
3. High efficacy sanitizer (ethyl-alcohol or water-based)
Is constantly accessible and will help prevent the transmission of food-borne infectious diseases that are commonly encountered in food preparation and handling venues.
5. Augments or complements existing HACCP S-SOPs
S-SOPs (a facilities Sanitation Standard Operating Procedure) or PRP (Perquisite Program) dramatically improves hand-hygiene compliance based on neuromuscular muscle-memory habituation. When hands are not soiled, or at moment of glove change, carrying out hand-hygiene is as rapid as a quick hand motion across the Orbel™ and a wipe of the other hand.
6. Compliance monitoring is intuitive
Orbel™ usage is based on positive behavior reinforcement. Employee's initials can be put on each Orbel™ distributed at the beginning of their workday or week to be turned in empty and recorded at the end of the period. With an estimated 60 doses of hand sanitizer, complimented by frequent hand washing, ideal compliance is achieved.
7. Compliance becomes neither complex, expensive nor embarrassing
The positive reinforcement provided by the Orbel™ is a powerful and effective tool to help change healthcare workers’ behavior. Far preferable to negative reinforcement and reprimand, the Orbel™ proves effective at compliance improvement and audit, that neither the employee nor the facility need to be embarrassed by negative compliance records.
8. Handling food and money
Handling highly contaminated money in a food-service environment presents a distinct infection risk. Orbel™ use presents a visible and effective defence against contamination and commitment to food safety.
Further information regarding contaminated money can be found in our money handling section.
With the Orbel™ Instant Hand Sanitizer Applicator increasing hand-hygiene compliance efficiently, reducing infections, upgrading safety perceptions and saving money has never been easier.
to make the Orbel™ Instant Hand Sanitizer Applicator part of your hand- hygiene program.
No workplace can afford to be without it.
For further reading, consult the References section.
For related hand-hygiene meetings and events, consult our Calendar of Events section.
Food workers' hands have been identified in foodborne illness outbreaks as a contributing factor in the spread of disease. The following are the major pathogens found to be transmitted in this manner. The Orbel™ personal hand sanitizer applicator can contribute to the reduction of pathogens transmitted by hands to food.
Pathogens identified as Transmitted by the Hands to Food*
|Pathogen||% Outbreaks||% Cases|
|Hepatitis A virus||10||6|
|Streptococcus groups A & G||2||5|
|Escherichia coli O157:H7 & O6:H16||0.5||0.1|
|Cryptosporidium spp. ***||0.5||0.2|
*From Greig et al. 2007.
** Norovirus somewhat resistant to Orbel hand sanitizer
*** Cryptosporidium not killed at all by Orbel hand sanitizer
Because of food worker transmission of foodborne illness caused by this list of pathogens, "Gel and foam products are now used in remote high-traffic areas away from hand washing sinks, e.g., at bed sides, in food service facilities, at deli counters, in areas catering to at-risk patients, and at grocery store check-out counters."
Food products are available in every physical form (animal, vegetable & mineral) and require specialized equipment and human interaction. This leaves plenty of room for contamination related to poor personal hygiene. With hand wash stations often positioned a long way from workers, hygienic integrity of hands can be comprised repeatedly during the workday – even if little food handling occurs.
Both food processing and food service workers are also frequently required to wear gloves and most believe that wearing gloves prevents foods from becoming contaminated. Gloves, however, have their own limitations and may become a source of contamination if improperly used or are punctured. Loss of glove integrity can lead to contamination of foods and services and in the food industry improper use of gloves is more likely than leakage and this can lead to food contamination and outbreaks.
Gloves can create a false sense of security that can result in more high-risk behaviours that can lead to cross contamination if the wearer is not adequately trained. When gloves are used then hands should be sanitized before and after their use.
Food service is truly where food workers become food handlers and represents one of the largest single employers both locally and internationally. The world food service industry is on track to reach $992 Billion in 2014.
Food is taken from its raw form and manipulated; often cooked but sometimes not, where it’s considered ready-to-eat. This is where the greatest risk to consumers exists that can lead to outbreaks, hospitalization and sometimes deaths.
Waiting staff, including caterers, are the front line of food delivery to restaurant guests and because of this will be exposed to a wide assortment of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. If hand-hygiene is not timely, they can pass these infections on to other guests or to themselves.
Festivals, Special Events, Fairs & Expositions: Food Vending
Temporary food vending is present at a diverse mixture of gatherings including community festivals, fairs, sporting events, parades, music and ethnic festivals. While these events can attract attendance of more than 150 million people collectively, there are common elements in these events that present public health challenges including hygiene:
- lack of adequate hand-hygiene facilities
- poor sanitary conditions
- basic accommodation (eg camping) where events are held over multiple days
- large numbers of people in attendance.
Maintaining hand-hygiene is also a challenge for permanent street vendors. As with all food vendors, temporary or not, water is in short supply, food is made and sold and money changes hands.
All of the above conditions together contribute to the potential for foodborne or respiratory illness to be transmitted.
The Orbel™ provides you with the advantage to assist with hand-hygiene issues commonly faced by Food Processing, Food Service and Outdoor Events.