Do ‘Employees Must Wash Hands’ signs keep the piss out of happy meals?

Jon Stewart did an admirable job hosting the Oscar’s last night, although he’s better on The Daily Show.

One of his best lines, however, comes from a 2002 hosting gig on Saturday Night Live, where he said,

“If you think the 10 commandments being posted in a school is going to change behavior of children, then you think “Employees Must Wash Hands” is keeping the piss out of your happy meals. It’s not.”

That came to mind as I read Friday’s N.Y. Times blog entry about handwashing and the lack of soap at Socialista where some celebrities now are being encouraged to keep hepatitis A shots.

Jennifer Lee writes that “Employees Must Wash Hands Before Returning to Work,” signs are required by the city health code in all bathrooms in restaurants and bars. Sometimes the signs are in Spanish and Chinese, as well as English.

The Health Department issued a Hepatitis A warning on Thursday after discovering there was no soap behind the bar at Socialista, a code violation, when it found that a bartender who worked there was infected with Hepatitis A.

City Room called up the Soap and Detergent Association, a Washington-based industry trade association, to get their thoughts on the missing soap.

Brian Sansoni, the association’s vice president of communications, was quoted as saying,

“Surely a place that charges $12 for a cocktail can afford a 99-cent container of liquid soap. … Soap-making was known as early as 2800 B.C, It’s not necessarily a new technology. … You can get soap in bar form, liquid form, foam. It’s not like we’re trying to find Kryptonite here. We’re talking about soap. As basic as soap is, we hear too many cases of too many places with not enough soap.”

Proper handwashing first requires access to proper tools: running water, soap, and paper towel.