Personal hygiene and food safety is everyone's responsibility.
If your business involves food handling and serving, it is your responsibility to take the necessary measures to ensure the best food safety practices in the workplace.
Everyone wants to remain in business, that is why it is crucial for you to follow the food safety rules and regulations. It is also important to teach your employees how to keep good hygiene when handling food.
Food poisoning and cross contamination can create serious problems for your customers, and also for your business’s reputation. Making sure the food you serve is safe is one of the most critical parts of the food preparation process, this involves all activities from the farms, all the way to the plate.
Germs and bacteria can be especially dangerous if found around cooking and food serving areas, therefore, food handlers must practice good hygiene both personal and of their equipment, to avoid the spread of illnesses.
Achieving a good level of food safety, should enable your business to:
- reduce the risk of food poisoning to your customers
- obey the law
- protect your businesses reputation
Any person who works in a position where they come into contact with food or food preparation surfaces and equipment, such as benches, kitchen utensils and cutlery, must follow the necessary rules and regulations.
Personal hygiene is essential to minimise risk, many people might carry harmful bacteria on their bodies without even knowing about it and can unwillingly contaminate the food.
Here are a few basic personal hygiene practices food handlers should follow:
- Washing your hands– when starting work, handling raw meat or money, sneezing or going to the toilet. This should be done thoroughly with water and soap. Business owners must provide special stations to be used exclusively for washing the hands, preferably out of reach from the food preparation areas.
- Never prepare food for others when ill- Supervisors must always be advised if a staff member is feeling unwell, that person should be sent home straight away and should not be in contact with the food whatsoever.
- Keeping clothing and protective equipment clean- Dirty clothing is one of the leading causes of cross contamination in the kitchen, changing or hanging aprons when leaving the kitchen is important, especially when handling raw meat. Making sure clothes are always clean and kept in a dry place is an important step to ensure the safety of your food. Protective equipment is generally designed to be used once and should be disposed immediately after being used.
4. Wiping perspiration- it is important to do so with a clean cloth and then wash your hands straight away, avoid touching your face while preparing food.
5. Jewellery, perfume and varnish – must be kept to a minimum, wedding bands should preferably get disinfected before starting work. Nail varnish or fake nails can be easily chipped off, contaminating the food you are preparing therefore is better not to wear any. Perfumes are also to be avoided as the food can get tainted, no one really wants their food to taste like the latest ‘Chanel’ fragrance.
6. Hair- It should be tied back, and facial hair should be preferably kept short to avoid it falling onto the food.
7. Avoid bad habits- never smoke near food preparation areas, and wash your hands and face afterwards. Chewing gum while preparing food is extremely prohibited as it increases salivation with small particles being propense to land on the food.