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Now go and wash your hands!

Now go and wash your hands!

How many times do you remember your mum saying that to you when you were little? Well, it seems she knew what she was talking about.

Experts agree that proper hand hygiene is important in helping to reduce the country's high levels of foodborne illness. This year the New Zealand Foodsafe Partnership is kicking off its summer campaign with a call to ensure we all understand the importance of clean hands.

Foodsafe week will run from November 7-13 with food safety messages from the Partnership's mascot Foodsafe Freddie who will be promoting the 20+20 rule: wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, then dry them for 20 seconds with a clean, dry towel or paper towel.

Freddie will be spreading his Foodsafe message via television and radio advertising and with brochures, stickers and posters which will be freely available to schools, community groups, health providers and other interested parties

Greg Simmons, Auckland's Medical Officer of Health and a member of the Foodsafe Partnership, says: "Teaching children to wash and dry their hands before eating will greatly reduce their risk of contracting a foodborne illness and should become part of the family routine."

Make sure your family follows the 20+20 rule and washes their hands:

- before eating food and after touching raw chicken or other meats

- after using the toilet

- after blowing their nose

- after playing with a pet.

Clean hands not only play a key role in reducing the 119,000 cases of foodborne illnesses that are reported in New Zealand every year – they're also a good way to prevent the spread of other infectious diseases and Freddie's clean hands messages are backed by Ministry of Health guidelines on limiting the spread of influenza and other infectious diseases.

The New Zealand Foodsafe Partnership is made up of representatives from the New Zealand Food Safety Authority the food industry, consumer groups, public health units and the Ministry of Health who work together to promote consistent and appropriate food safety messages to consumers.


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