Since the 19th century, it has been documented that hand hygiene is an essential tool in the toolkit for reducing infection. Drying your hands efficiently reduces the risk of hands becoming a vehicle for transmission of infection. The infections in question can be in any setting, from home to operating theatre, from kitchen to manufacturing site. Below are two blogs about hand washing.
My personal experience of hand dryers is that the moist and intermittently warm environment creates perfect growth conditions for bacteria. Add to this a healthy dose of dust and bingo! The air emitted from the dryer is loaded bacteria. Possibly with pathogenic bacteria. This air blows straight onto your lovely clean hands. Even the more recent evolutions are not cleaned regularly in most places that I visit. This results in a build up of wet dust collecting in the bottom of the gulley. Nice!
You have dry hands, but they may not be free from harmful micro organisms.
Paper towels create more mess. This is true if the users do not place them into a bin, which is regularly emptied. However, as a single use item, they dry hands efficiently. Once disposed of, the moist conditions of the hand dryers, with the associated dust is in a bin.
My recommendation is to use paper towels in a food handling environment. Blue paper towels are preferred. This is to ensure that they are easily visible if they happen to become a physical hazard or foreign body.
In summary, drying your hands makes them less likely to be a vehicle for cross contamination. Wet hands transmit infection a lot easier than dry hands do. Using paper towels is better than electric hot air dryers.