Every single day, when I go to buy my fresh bread rolls for breakfast, I see that the person serving behind the counter is wearing some form of glove. The idea is that any germs they might have on their hands is not passed on , through the food they are selling, to the customer. It’s no longer enough that hands are washed, there has to be even more protection against the bugs which threaten our health if not our lives.
And each day I see exactly the same thing, no matter where I go: the gloves are used constantly, there is no regular change to a new pair; money changes hands, and his taken in the gloved hand: one hand is gloved and, during the bagging process, the un-gloved hand touches the food item: surfaces which are not necessarily clean, utensils which have been used for other products, are touched and then food is handled again.
This, for those who are really concerned about their health, could be a nightmare. How can they be sure they’re not getting some form of malignant disease passed on to them by a shop assistant? And, although I am also concerned to keep my health intact, none of this others me at all. If the assistant touches my food with a bare hand, it’s fine. It makes no difference to me at all. Not because I am immune to health concerns, far from it, but because I have built up an immunity to most of the bugs and germs which could be passed from one hand to another and, if everyone would stop going overboard with their health concerns, they would be too.
Photo Source: Arlington County – Creative Commons
There is absolutely no protection from germs. The only way to get around them is to live and breathe the things, and let your own body build up an immunity to them through experience, through battling them. If this chance is taken away, if your body cannot experience and fight all the possible sources of bad health, or live through a childhood disease – for example – it cannot build up the necessary and natural immunity. This is not to say that inoculations against some diseases are wrong, far from it; there are some things which need to be protected against, but day-to-day germs are not amongst them.
That there is no true protection should be clear to everyone who eats any form of fast food, as just one example. The potential customer leaves their house, locking the door behind them, and drives to the local fast food outlet with their family. Today is family day, so all are in it together; no take-out at the drive-thru window. The family piles out of the car and trudge into the restaurant, find their seats and wait while one person does the ordering, paying, and carrying. All the service staff who come in contact with the food are wearing hygiene gloves and the food being prepared and offered does not come into contact with bare skin at any time. None of the staff are ill, no one sneezes or wipes their nose. There is no cause for concern whatsoever.
The family sits at their chosen table and eats their safe food. Except that, with all the hygiene concerns about the preparation and sales staff, one factor has been omitted: the customer who now holds a burger in their hands. The family has touched door handles, traveled in a car, opened the fast food restaurant door where countless other people have placed their hands, sat at a table which will perhaps have been briefly wiped over. They have handled money, car keys, everything which a person comes across in their daily lives.
How many people, going to a restaurant, do the one thing many Mothers insist their children do before a meal and wash their hands?
- Viktoria Michaelis.