State Officials Warn Of Misleading Hand Washing Flyers

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

September 1, 2006

The Michigan departments of Community Health (MDCH) and Agriculture are warning Michigan businesses to be aware of misleading flyers being distributed by two companies that claim to encourage compliance with a "new hand washing posting advisory." The mailings, which could be mistaken for official notification, have the potential of intimidating businesses into purchasing the companies' signs rather than risk being fined or closed.

Companies calling themselves the Michigan Center for Disease Education (MCDE) and the Food Service Compliance Center (FSCC) have mailed flyers to businesses to promote the sale of "approved hand washing posters." It should be noted that the MCDE and FSCC are NOT state agencies, and not affiliated with the state of Michigan.

The flyers incorrectly quote sections of the Michigan Food Code and Food Law, as well as US Code of Federal Regulations, and imply that an operator may be closed down or fined up to $2,500 if they fail to have signs that meet "exact specifications." Signs are then offered for sale for $19.95 each plus shipping.

While hand-washing signs are required for food establishments, they are not required at other businesses. For food establishments, the Michigan Food Code specifies only that the signs be legible and in the correct place.

The Michigan Department of Community Health strongly encourages routine hand hygiene to promote good health in all settings. Hand washing signs suitable for a variety of settings are available, free of charge, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website or by contacting your local health department.