Employee Health and Hygiene – Foodservice


[ music ] Ensuring the safety of food served away
from the home is a great responsibility. Managers provide written policies and
procedures to guide food handling practices however the last line of
defense against foodborne illness is you, the food handler. Food safety really is
in your hands. As a food handler who is or may need to become certified in food
safety you must know the steps to take to protect the safety of food that will
be served to your customers. Some of your customers may be young children or the
elderly whose immune systems may not be able to fight off illness caused by
contaminated food. Many safe food handling practices are related to
personal hygiene. Personal hygiene is very important when working with food. If
possible wear clothes other than your uniform to work and change into a clean
uniform once at work. Your clothes should be covered with a clean chef coat or
apron before beginning work. Some operations provide chef coats and others
provide aprons to wear over a shirt with the food service logo. Before work begins
check your appearance and hair restraint if your hair is not completely covered
by the hair restraint be sure to tuck the extra hair under it. Hair can be an
indirect and direct contaminator to food. Hats, hair coverings, or hair nets along
with beard restraints and clothing that covers body hair need to be worn in the
kitchen when preparing food. Remove all jewelry except for a plain wedding band
because bacteria can hide in jewelry settings. Other jewelry such as an
earring can pose a hazard if it falls in the food. Removing jewelry also protects
you from injury should a necklace, bracelet, watch, or ring get caught in
food production equipment. Medical alert bracelets may be worn around the ankle.
Check your fingernails to ensure they are short and clean. Employers may
provide a locker or other place to store personal items during the work day. When
you are finished getting ready for work wash your hands with warm water and soap. Thoroughly clean your hands by rubbing them together. Be sure to rub between
your fingers and continue up your arms. Lather for 10 to 15 seconds before
rinsing. Rinse your hands before drying them. The entire hand washing process
should take 20 seconds. Singing the happy birthday song through twice takes
about 20 seconds. When your hands are rinsed, if there is not an automatic
faucet, turn off the water with a paper towel to avoid hand re-contamination. Then use a single-use towel to dry your hands. Even properly washed hands may still
have harmful bacteria or viruses on them. These two images show differences in
microorganisms between properly washed hands and hands that were just rinsed.
Just rinsing hands with water is not sufficient to reduce disease-causing
microorganisms to non harmful levels. Hands should never be washed in food
preparation or sinks used for cleaning and sanitizing small equipment. To do so
would promote cross-contamination. Hand washing sinks should only be used for
hand-washing. They should be conveniently located by
food preparation, food dispensing and dishwashing areas as well as in
restrooms. Hand-washing stations should include potable or drinkable running
water, soap, and disposable towels, continuous towel system, or heat air
dryer located by the sinks. Ideally your workplace includes a hand sink with an
automatic faucet. This prevents employees from recontaminating hand because they do no nee to turn off the water. Use a single-use towel or forced air dryer to dry your hands
rather than cloth towels or your apron. This image shows hands that were cleaned properly but became re-contaminated when they were dried on an apron. Open cuts or wounds must be covered with both a bandage and glove or finger cot after hands have been washed.
It is important to use a dry durable tight-fitting bandage. Use of a bandage
and a glove provides a double barrier to cover cuts or wounds on hands, fingers and wrists. When you perform non-food production and service
activities such as taking out the trash remove your apron and hang it up in an
appropriate place away from production. Do not place it on the counter. When you
return to work, wash your hands remembering to sing the Happy Birthday
song twice. Then inspect your apron before putting it back on. If the apron
is dirty, replace it with a clean apron. It is necessary to wash hands between
tasks. For example if canned foods are on the menu you may need to use a cart to
load cases of product from the storeroom and return to the kitchen. After
completion of this task hands should be washed before handling food. Whenever you touch something that is not cleaned and sanitized you need to wash your hands.
Wash hands before entering the food production area, handling clean and
sanitized equipment and putting on gloves. Always wash hands after eating or drinking, using the restroom, smoking, coughing or sneezing, touching face or
hair, using tissues or handkerchiefs, handling dirty or soiled equipment,
wiping counters, cleaning spills or mopping floors, or taking out the trash.
Gloves are one way to provide a barrier between hands and ready-to-eat foods or
those foods that won’t receive further cooking. Wash hands between working with raw foods like chicken and ready-to-eat foods such as fresh vegetables and
between touching soiled and clean dishware. Gloves are packed with the
clean side exposed. If dirty hands are touching the clean side of the gloves
the food can become contaminated. In this photo the glowing purple color on the
workers hands indicates potential contaminants. Therefore it is important
that hands be clean before putting on a pair of gloves. Glove use is an important
step in preventing the spread of bacteria from hands to ready-to-eat
foods. To prevent cross-contamination gloves should be changed between tasks.
As a food production worker you should not drink or eat food in the production
area. There should be a designated area for staff to eat and drink during breaks
other than the kitchen. Your manager may allow staff to keep a beverage in a
covered container that has a straw in the kitchen. Food Code allows this as
long as the container is handled so as to prevent contamination of the
employees hands, exposed food, clean equipment, utensils and other items. It is
good manners and important to controlling the spread of germs not to
sneeze into food, onto equipment or into your hands. Sneezing into your elbow
captures any airborne contaminants. If you should come down with cold or flu
symptoms stay home. Although you may not like to miss work or worry about letting
coworkers down it is important to stay home and not spread illness to others. If
you have a simple cold talk with your supervisor to determine if there is work
that you could do in non-food areas. If you have a fever, nausea ,vomiting or
diarrhea you should not come to work. While you may not want to cause the
kitchen to be short-staffed those with these symptoms increase risk of disease
transmission to others. The Food Code requires that employees inform the
person in charge of food service if they have been diagnosed with Salmonella
causing typhoid fever or other strains of this bacteria, Shigella, Shiga
Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli, Hepatitis A virus or Norovirus. Now you
know how personal hygiene impacts food safety. Remember you are responsible for
ensuring the safety of foods served in your operation. [ music ]

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