Turn Any Faucet Into a Hands Free Automatic Foot Operated Faucet!
 

"Why doesn't everyone already have a hands free faucet, and why haven't we had them for 50 years?" - Denise Potts
 

Hands free control of the faucet can save a lot of water. We made a system to measure water use by attaching a sensor to the faucet that detects water flow and sends the signal to a computer that charts the data, the following video shows an example of how the system works using hand washing for the test. Although proper hand washing is the most important thing people can do to prevent the spread of many diseases, doing it properly wastes a lot of water.

 

Since January 26, 1998, USDA inspectors have been implementing a new science-based Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system to prevent foodborne illness in U.S. meat producing plants. The system identifies the faucet handle as being a critical control point in the meat handling industry and requires meat handlers to implement devices that eliminate the need to touch a faucet handle when handling raw meat. The Foot Faucet allows hands free operation of your kitchen sink.

Two of the main concerns in the kitchen today are safe food preparation and healthy cooking made easier. Although the kitchen is the place where we go to fill our stomachs with food, the kitchen is also the most likely place for germs to get into our bodies making us sick. Cross-Contamination is the main way germs are spread to food in the kitchen. Germs that cause everything from the common cold to MRSA(flesh eating bacteria) can be brought home after school or work and end up on the faucet handle as we are turning it on to wash our hands, now with clean hands, we have to touch the contaminated faucet handle to turn the water off, getting the germs right back on our hands, then we proceed to spread those germs around the kitchen with "clean" hands. Germs are also very likely to get on our hands from handling raw meat or other food, these germs also end up on the faucet handle and then... everywhere else. The Centers For Disease Control say that the most effective thing we all can do to prevent ourselves from getting sick is to properly wash our hands. Proper hand washing and safe food handling practices are the cornerstone of any healthy kitchen, so having an automatic faucet to control the hot/cold water and the garbage disposal without spreading germs on the faucet handle(s) or the disposal switch can make the kitchen sink a germ fighting super-hero instead of a prime suspect in making your family sick.


Healthy cooking can be a lot of work, with any  fresh meat or vegetable, effective cleaning and preparation requires clean water. Also, preparing these things can be a bit messy, so we usually either fill up the sink or a pot to do washing/rinsing in, which can get dirty quickly leading to a contamination problem, or, some people leave the faucet on while they prepare the food and rinse their hands, that wastes a lot of water. Some people get good at using the back of their hand or their elbow to turn on the faucet, that prevents spreading until the second time you have to do it... Even if you leave the faucet on, if you have a sink full of something that you want to wash down the garbage disposal, you have to either wash off (and dry to avoid electrocution) your hands to turn on the garbage disposal, or get the switch dirty, contaminating it, and risking a less than pleasant ZAP. Using your foot to control the water flow and garbage disposal makes preparing healthy food easier and stops cross-contamination while saving water.

According to the Centers for Disease Control - Food Safety Division. "Many people do not think about food safety until a food-related illness affects them or a family member. While the food supply in the United States is one of the safest in the world, CDC estimates that 76 million people get sick, more than 300,000 are hospitalized, and 5,000 Americans die each year from foodborne illness. Preventing foodborne illness and death remains a major public health challenge."  

 

Here is a link to a list of recent recalls of food in the U.S. They average about 40 per year. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fsis_Recalls/Recall_Case_Archive/index.asp

These are just the ones that made the list! Of course, the germs that cause these recalls are only dangerous if you mis-handle the food. If your food is handled/cooked properly and cross-contamination is avoided, most of these foods recalled for pathogens would pose little danger. The kitchen faucet/sink can be a crucial Critical Control Point in the fight against illness.

"Today, many companies sell antibacterial solutions and chemicals for the purpose of making hands safe. In fact, this actually leads to damage of the skin, which then leads to less hand washing. The following table points out the defenses of the skin and their function. It identifies the hair follicles, sweat glands, and other skin defense mechanisms. One must not interfere with these defenses; otherwise, we will have diseases of the skin and less hand washing."
O. Peter Snyder, Jr., Ph.D.
Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management
 

  Defenses of skin*

Site

Defenses

Function

Skin Dryness and acidic conditions (pH 5) 

Sloughing cells 

Resident bacteria

Limit bacterial growth 
 

Remove bacteria 

Compete for nutrients and colonization / attachment sites

Hair follicles, sweat glands Lysozyme, toxic lipids Kill bacteria
Sebum from sebaceous glands Protective film on surface of skin Prevents excessive dryness of skin
Beneath skin surface Skin associated lymphoid tissue (SALT) Kill bacteria; sample antigens on skin surface.

*References:

  • Salyers, A.A., and Whitt, D.D. 1994. Chapter 1. Host defenses against bacterial pathogens: Defenses of body surfaces. In Bacterial Pathogenesis. American Society of Microbiology Press. Washington, D. C.

  • Prescott, L. M., Harley, J. P., and Klein, D. A. 1996. Microbiology. 3rd edition. Wm. C. Brown. Dubuque, IA.

     

  • Common Foodborne Pathogens

    Even though the United States has one of the safest food supplies in the world, there are still millions of cases of foodborne illness each year.  Here are common foodborne pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) with research-based information:

    Bacillus cereus

    • Cause of illness: large molecular weight protein (diarrheal type) or highly heat-stable toxin (emetic type)

    • Incubation period: 30 minutes to 15 hours

    • Symptoms: diarrhea , abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting (emetic type)

    • Possible contaminants: meats, milk, vegetables, fish, rice, potatoes, pasta, and cheese

    • Steps for prevention: pay careful attention to food preparation and cooking guidelines.
       

    Campylobacter jejuni

    • Cause of Illness: Infection, even with low numbers

    • Incubation Period: One to seven days

    • Symptoms: Nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, headache - varying in severity

    • Possible Contaminant: Raw milk, eggs, poultry, raw beef, cake icing, water

    • Steps for Prevention: Pasteurize milk; cook foods properly; prevent cross-contamination.

    Clostridium perfringens

    • Cause of illness: undercooked meats and gravies

    • Incubation period: 8 to 22 hours

    • Symptoms: abdominal cramps and diarrhea, some include dehydration

    • Possible contaminants: meats and gravies

    • Steps for prevention: proper attention to cooking temperatures.

     

    Cryptosporidium parvum

    • Cause of Illness:  eating raw or undercooked food; putting something in the mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of an infected person or animal; direct contact with the droppings of infected animals.

    • Incubation Period: Two to 10 days

    • Symptoms: Watery diarrhea accompanied by mild stomach cramping, nausea, loss of appetite. Symptoms may last 10 to 15 days.

    • Possible Contaminants: Contaminated water or milk, person-to-person transmission (especially in child daycare settings). Contaminated food can also cause infections.

    • Steps for Prevention: Wash hands after using the toilet and before handling food. If you work in a child care center where you change diapers, be sure to wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after every diaper change, even if you wear gloves. During communitywide outbreaks caused by contaminated drinking water, boil drinking water for 1 minute to kill the Cryptosporidium parasite. Allow water to cool before drinking it.

     

    Escherichia coli 0157:H7

    • Cause of Illness: Strain of enteropathic E.coli
      Incubation Period: Two to four days

    • Symptoms: Hemorrhagic colitis, possibly hemolytic uremic syndrome

    • Possible Contaminant: Ground beef, raw milk

    • Steps for Prevention: Thoroughly cook meat; no cross-contamination.

    Hepatitis A

    • Cause of illness: Hepatitis A Virus (HAV)

    • Incubation period:

    • Symptoms: fever, malaise, nausea, abdominal discomfort

    • Possible contaminants: water, fruits, vegetables, iced drinks, shellfish, and salads

    • Steps for prevention: carefully wash hands with soap and water after using a restroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing food.

     

    Listeria monocytogenes

    • Cause of Illness: Infection with Listeria monocytogenes
      Incubation Period: Two days to three weeks

    • Symptoms: Meningitis, sepsticemia, miscarriage

    • Possible Contaminant: Vegetables, milk, cheese, meat, seafood

    • Steps for Prevention: Purchase pasteurized dairy products; cook foods properly; no cross-contamination; use sanitary practices.

     

    Norwalk, Norwalk-like, or norovirus

    • Cause of Illness: Infection with Norwalk virus
      Incubation Period: Between 12 and 48 hours (average, 36 hours); duration, 12-60 hours

    • Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps

    • Possible Contaminant: raw oysters/shellfish, water and ice, salads, frosting, person-to-person contact

    • Steps for Prevention: Adequate and proper treatment and disposal of sewage, appropriate chlorination of water, restriction of infected food handlers from working with food until they no longer shed virus.

     

    Salmonellosis

    • Cause of Illness: Infection with Salmonella species
      Incubation Period: 12 to 24 hours

    • Symptoms: Nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, chills, prostration

    • Possible Contaminant: Meat, poultry, egg or milk products

    • Steps for Prevention: Cook thoroughly; avoid cross-contamination; use sanitary practices.

     

    Staphylococcus

    • Cause of Illness: Toxin produced by certain strains of Staphylococcus aureus

    • Incubation Period: One to six hours
      Symptoms: Severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping

    • Possible Contaminant: Custard- or cream-filled baked goods, ham, tongue, poultry, dressing, gravy, eggs, potato salad, cream sauces, sandwich fillings

    • Steps for Prevention: Refrigerate foods; use sanitary practices.

     

    Shigella

    • Cause of illness: Water contaminated with human feces and unsanitary food handling

    • Incubation period: 12 to 50 hours

    • Symptoms: abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, blood, and pus

    • Possible contaminants: salads, raw vegetables, dairy products, and poultry

    • Steps for prevention: practice proper washing and sanitizing techniques.

     

    Toxoplasma gondii

    • Cause of Illness: Parasitic infection
      Incubation Period: Five to 23 days after exposure

    • Symptoms: In healthy children and adults, toxoplasmosis may cause no symptoms at all, or may cause a mild illness (swollen lymph glands, fever, headache, and muscle aches).
      Toxoplasmosis is a very severe infection for unborn babies and for people with immune system problems.

    • Possible Contaminant: Cat, rodent or bird feces, raw or undercooked food.

    • Steps for Prevention: Wash hands thoroughly after working with soil, cleaning litter boxes, before and after handling foods, and before eating. Cover sandboxes when not in use.

     

    Vibrio 

    • Cause of illness: excretion of toxin from infected fish and shellfish

    • Incubation period: four hours to four days

    • Symptoms: diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, and chills

    • Possible contaminants: fish and shellfish

    • Steps for prevention: cook fish and shellfish thoroughly

     

    Yersiniosis

    • Cause of Illness: Infection with Yersinia enterocolitica
      Incubation Period: One to three days

    • Symptoms: Enterocolitis, may mimic acute appendicitis

    • Possible Contaminant: Raw milk, chocolate milk, water, pork, other raw meats

    • Steps for Prevention: Pasteurize milk; cook foods properly; no cross-contamination; use sanitary practices.
      Retail/Institutional Food Service Food Safety and Management

     
     
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