N.C. restaurants hit by hand-washing scammers

Written By Administrator On March 30, 2009

Health inspectors can be pretty tough about those signs in restaurant restrooms that declare employees must wash their hands before returning to work. In Florida, a missing sign in a restroom used by employees is considered a critical violation. Just a missing sign, mind you — not whether the employees actually wash their hands.

The inspectors in North Carolina must be sticklers about the signage too, because some scammers have found a way to take advantage of restaurant owners’ panic of a potential violation. According to the Mount Airy News, restaurant owners have been receiving letters from a business called the North Carolina Food Service Compliance Center that misleads them to believe they must purchase the hand-washing signs from the company for $19.95 plus shipping and handling.

Not so. Although there must be signage, it needn’t be purchased. In fact, the state provides the preferred wording on its Web site, which can be downloaded and printed for free — and save the shipping and handling, too.

The story reminded me of a visit to a restaurant’s restroom in another city, New York, if I recall. While some states, including North Carolina, apparently, suggest wording on restroom signs that detail how and why staffers should perform the hand-washing task, this sign simply said:

Employees must wash hands.

Beneath those bold letters, someone had scrawled in pencil:

I waited 20 minutes and no one came, so I washed my hands myself.

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