Personal Hygiene Practices for Food Handlers to Follow
Employ personal hygiene practices when handling food to avoid food safety compliance violations that may result in food poisoning or even business closure.
Personal Hygiene and Food Safety
Personal hygiene is an essential part of food safety compliance adherence. Proper handling practices are required to ensure a safe working environment. Consequences of bad food hygiene range from foodborne illness proliferation to preventable compliance violations.
Management has the opportunity to promote personal hygiene tips by serving as a good role model and reiterating how important it is to adhere to food safety compliance protocol. Continually emphasize how important personal hygiene is, reassuring employees they will not lose their jobs for reporting an illness or communicable disease.
Provide employees with clear instructions and the necessary sanitary equipment for them to properly sustain their personal hygiene. Effective supervision and reoccurring training will help employees to follow protocol and business to continue running safely and smoothly.
The Importance of Personal Hygiene for Food Handlers
Food handlers include anyone who comes in contact with food directly (cooking, serving, or packaging food) or indirectly (storing, delivering, or transporting food). Additionally, workers who come into contact with preparation surfaces including cutlery, benches, or kitchen utensils are considered food handlers and must adhere to the same strict handling practices as workers who directly handle food.
Proper food handling practices should be communicated prior to employment and consistently reaffirmed throughout employment through periodic training programs. Regardless of what language your employees speak, they need access to thorough translated food safety practice and procedure training.
Food industry professionals may consider employing signs that visually communicate health and safety practices as a food hygiene reinforcement method. These signs should be accessible, displayed in applicable areas and multilingual. Unless food industry employees understand and adhere to safe handling practices, they may unintentionally violate food safety protocol, putting both your customers and business at risk
Rules to Live By
Below are personal hygiene tips to optimize food handling practices, including-
Washing your hands properly and frequently- use the following six steps to wash hands properly-
- Wet hands - Use warm-hot water (at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit) to wet hands, removing any visible dirt or contaminants
- Apply soap - Apply liquid soap to hands. Avoid bar soaps as they can harbor harmful bacteria. If you must use bar soap, store in a container that allows for self drainage and clean regularly
- Lather and scrub - Rub hands together with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds. Thoroughly and carefully clean palms, back of hands, between each finger and under fingernails
- Rinse - Rinse the soap off using warm-hot running water for at least 20 seconds. Point fingers downwards while rinsing
- Turn off the tap - Use a paper towel to turn the tap off. Taps can harbor harmful bacteria when turned on using dirty hands
- Dry hands - Wet hands can carry up to 1000x more germs than dry hands. Dry hands thoroughly using a hand dryer or paper towels. Using a tea towel or your apron will cross-contaminate your hands
Other tips include-
- Launder and store clothing correctly to prevent the proliferation of harmful bacteria.Always use a good quality cleaning product and store clean clothes in a clean and dry place
- Dispose of one-time-use protective gear such as gloves or hairnets. Do not re-use
- Replace any protective clothing including aprons or gloves when moving preparation areas
- Tie up long hair and preferably use a hairnet
- Never touch your face, hair, jewelry, or clothing while preparing food. Keep jewelry to a minimum
- Do not smoke. If you do, do away from food prep areas. Always wash your face and hands thoroughly after smoking
- Wipe face perspiration using cloth or paper towel and then wash hands thoroughly
- Avoid chewing gum while preparing food
- Avoid all unnecessary contact with RTE (ready to eat) foods
- Be especially mindful of cross-contamination of RTE and raw foods, especially raw meat
- Never taste food with fingers or utensils that are then returned into the food
- When coughing or sneezing into your hands, ensure thorough hand washing and replacement of any contaminated protective materials including gloves
- Notify your supervisor of any suspected illness, wound, or infections
- Do not come to work if you are ill or suspect you may be ill
- Proper handling practices are required to ensure a safe working environment
- Consequences of bad food hygiene range from foodborne illness proliferation to preventable compliance violations
- Proper handling practices should be communicated prior to employment and consistently reaffirmed throughout employment through periodic training programs
- Management must promote personal hygiene tips by serving as a good role model, reiterating the importance of food safety compliance protocol and continually reassuring employees they will not lose their jobs for reporting an illness or communicable disease
- Food industry professionals may consider employing signs that visually communicate health and safety practices as a food hygiene reinforcement method. These signs should be accessible, displayed in applicable areas and multilingual
- Unless food industry employees understand and adhere to safe food practices, they may unintentionally violate food safety protocol, putting both your customers and business at risk