Honestly, it’s one of the strangest things I’d seen when I first moved to the U.S., but you see it so often that it’s not until someone new comes to visit that they ask the question. So why do restaurant bathrooms have, “employees must wash hands” signs?

Well, it turns out there are three reasons (and none of them are as exciting as you might think).

Reason #1: It’s the law

Whomp whomp. How boring.

Basically, the FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration) put out a guideline that requires everyone to follow particular food safety rules. In those rules, it states that employees should wash their hands

This is just a guideline, but then to enforce the health safety of its citizens, the Federal and State governments around the country decided to enforce this guideline. So now every food preparer is required to wash their hands!

In theory, that’s where they could have stopped, but it turns out

Reason #2: To protect employees (kinda)

In most states, not complying with the rules requiring that they wash their hands all the time can result in their immediate termination. There’s no wiggle room, the employer has to fire them. SO, by posting it all over the place, employees are constantly reminded to wash their hands and avoid unemployment.

Whether this actually works or not… I’ll leave that up to you!

Reason #3: Public trust and confidence

Turns out a big part of it is also just you and I. We want to know that the food we’re eating has been prepared safely and research showed that posting these made people feel more comfortable at the place they were eating.

It’s one space where the law and public interest really line up and it seems to help everyone out equally.

Did you know

What is written and where it’s placed is different in every state! In Hawaii, for example, there has to be a notice on every single sink, whereas, in many states, you just need to be able to see the sign from each sink, so that’s why you might see them in strange places!