Personal Hygiene Tips for Food Handlers - Cenza+

Personal Hygiene Tips for Food Handlers

Handling food may seem like a fairly basic job to some. However, it comes with great responsibility. Each year, 48 million people fall ill from foodborne illnesses, leading to 3,000 deaths.

By using safety practices and maintaining a high standard of personal hygiene, food handlers can help ensure the safety of others. Keep reading to learn important hygiene tips for people working with food.

Clean Clothing

A food handler should always ensure they come to work with clean clothing. If you have a dog or a cat you know hair can get on your clothing. Re-wearing a shirt from a previous day without washing it can also be a problem. Food debris and juices on your clothing can grow bacteria and then you bring that into your facility.

The purpose of an apron is to protect the food and food contact surfaces from your clothing. Even though you have "clean" clothing, you walked outside and picked up blowing dirt, fungi and bacteria. It is important to have clean clothing but is only one piece of how we keep food safe for our guests.

Keep Clean

Food handlers should always practice basic cleanliness. This means showering, brushing their teeth and keeping clean and short fingernails.

People who fail to keep up with hygiene practices walk around with more germs on them. This increases the risk of spreading bacteria within your facility.

Shower daily when you are going to be working with food. If you wake up and have certain symptoms of a potential illness, (that you should be trained on) call your Person-In-Charge and report those symptoms before going to work. You do not want to be the cause of a foodborne illness.

Wash Hands

One of the most important personal hygiene tips for food handlers is to practice proper hand washing often! This may sound like a no-brainer, but research suggests that one-third of all adults do not wash their hands when leaving the bathroom.

To prevent spreading disease, always wash your hands with warm running water. Apply soap and scrub for 10 to 15 seconds then rinse your hands with a total handwashing time of at least 20 seconds. Then, dry your hand using a air dryer or paper towel.

Do not just focus on the palms of your hands. Scrub the top of your hands, in between each finger, around the cuticle, and clean beneath nails. Also, clean up to and around your wrists before rinsing thoroughly and drying your hands.

Cut and Clean Nails

Long nails present a problem in food handling for several reasons. First, they may easily break into the food.

Also, long nails harbor more germs easier than short nails because it is easier to clean under short fingernails. To work with food, keep your nails short, smooth and clean.

Do not wear nail polish or even the gel nail polish. The polish can chip or slice off and fall into the food.

Refrain From the Following

Do not eat around the food you will handle. This can lead to cross-contact of allergens or cross-contamination of bacteria by spreading them from yourself to food or food contact surfaces. You should never chew gum or smoke while working with food.

Be careful not to sneeze or cough over food. Move away from the food, if time, and cover your mouth with the inside of your elbow.

Food Safety Education

Personal hygiene is one of the 5 CDC risk factors meaning that it is and has been causes of outbreaks in the United States. We tend to take it too lightly and training can help you understand why it is a risk.

Any person who will come into contact with anything edible should be required to complete food safety training. This course dives deep into proper hygiene, food handling, and sanitation practices so avoidable accidents do not happen.

Bacteria, viruses, cross-contact and cross-contamination can all turn fatal. Make educating yourself and/or your food workers a top priority.

Make Personal Hygiene a Priority

All food handlers need to make personal hygiene a top priority. If they do not keep clean, then they risk carrying more germs and contaminating the food. Safe practices prevent illness and potentially death.

We strive to provide a top-tier education to professionals working in the food industry. Check out our class schedule online!

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