While grocery shopping, I picked off a broken fingernail. I then bought a pack of wet carrots. Are they ok to eat later (with my hands) or not because I did not wash after the nail? Or is washing after nails just before prayer?
After cutting our nails we wash our hands because of a ruach tuma which is on them from the cutting, and not just for prayer. Nevertheless, the poskim say that the food that you mistakenly touched is permitted to eat. Similar to food that was mistakenly taken into the bathroom, which is permitted to eat.
Maharam Brisk 1-10, Minchas Yitzchok 3-63, Beer Moshe 4-2, Rivivos Efrayim 1-8.