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Our work

Since its inception, the Hygiene Council has monitored infection threats, responding to emerging problems by creating practical, simple recommendations to help the public to improve levels of hygiene both in the home and when out and about. Every year, the Council assesses the latest hygiene issues in a number of ways:

Where does the Hygiene Council need to focus?

Hygiene Council Annual Meeting

Each year, the Hygiene Council members meet in person at their annual meeting. The meeting provides a useful forum for members to share the current infection issues (e.g. swine flu) and hygiene situation in their own country, plus discuss the latest scientific research in the area. Members use the meeting to work out where their efforts should be focused, and create recommendations to help the public to protect themselves and their families from infection.

What is hygiene really like in the world’s homes?

International Home Hygiene Study

Since 2008, the Hygiene Council has commissioned an annual study that explores real-life homes across the world to reveal where the germs that make us ill survive. Each year, homes in up to 10 countries are tested for microbial contamination. The homes are tested in key places like the toilet flush handle, kitchen taps and chopping boards. This helps the Council to see where hygiene problem areas really are – and sometimes the results have been surprising.

  • The kitchen cloth is one of the dirtiest items in the home
  • More highchairs or places where children eat have unsatisfactory or worse levels of bacteria than toilet flushes
  • One in 10 people worldwide believe that avoiding public places and public transport is the best way to prevent catching cold or flu

What does the public really know about hygiene?

International Consumer Survey

The Hygiene Council regularly conducts a survey of the general public to help the Council to understand how much people really know about infection threat and good hygiene practice. By examining results from 10 countries across the world, the Council can see what the risk areas are.

  • Only 10% of people think that the kitchen tap might be a germ risk - yet Hygiene Council study found 52% of kitchen are contaminated with harmful bacteria
  • Almost half people worldwide believe ‘washing hands regularly’ is the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs in the home
  • 1 in 10 people believe avoiding public places and public transport is the best way to prevent catching cold or flu

International Roadshow

Using the results, insights and expert recommendations developed from the meeting, study and survey, the Hygiene Council travels the world to talk to journalists, schools and healthcare professionals about infection and the important role of practicing good hygiene. Professor Oxford, Hygiene Council Chair, works with the respective local Hygiene Council member to present the results of the survey and study, offering insights into current infection threats and providing hygiene recommendations to limit the spread of infection.


Horizon investigates if decreased exposure to bacteria is responsible for an increase in allergies


FSA urges the public to stop washing raw chicken


FSA urge public to stop washing raw chicken – but what about safe handling of it?


WHO to develop global plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance


Saudi review finds over 100 more MERS infections