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Personal Hygiene for Food Service Employees
The human body is the source of many types of contamination and also a common medium of cross contamination.
Personal Hygiene affects food safety, as well as the customers impressions of food premises.
Many food borne illnesses are traced to employees who handle food.
Food service employees should not cough or sneeze into their hands, scratch their heads, touch their faces, or otherwise practice habits that will contaminate their hands and the food they are working with.
Pathogens are commonly found on the skin and in the noses of healthy people.
Scratching the head and nose can result in bacteria being transferred by hands onto food, which may cause illnesses to customers. Smoking in food rooms may cause food contamination by cigarette ends, ash or hands.
Prevention of food-borne illnesses should begin with good personal hygiene practices by food handlers in both personal cleanliness and habits to prevent contamination of food by pathogens.
It is vital that good standards of personal hygiene are maintained by food handlers, and all kitchen staff. Contaminated hands will spread bacteria around a kitchen very quickly
Staff engaged in food handling should not be assigned to handle cash as well.
When sneezing or coughing inside food preparation area is unavoidable, food handlers should turn away from food and cover their nose and mouth . Hands should then be thoroughly cleaned at once.
Supervisors should prohibit staff who are suffering from intestinal infectious diseases from handling food or equipment.
Until the staff member has been certified by a doctor that he/she has fully recovered, or the symptoms have stopped for 48 hours.
In addition, staff medical records should be kept properly for future reference when needed.
Staff with symptoms of acute intestinal infectious diseases like diarrhoea and vomiting or a sore throat should not handle food
Report the illness or symptoms of the illness to the employer or supervisor, and seek medical treatment
Staff should immediately be suspended from engaging in any work which may involve direct or indirect contact with food, including contact with food utensils or equipment
Staff ordered by health officers to cease working or taking part in food business should have written clearance from health officers before returning to handle food
Open cuts or wounds on the exposed parts of the body should be completely protected by impermeable waterproof gloves or adhesive plasters
Bandages or plasters should not be flesh-coloured, so that they can be easily detected if they fall off
Bandages or plasters should be changed regularly
In case of peeling or bleeding sores on exposed body parts which cannot be properly covered, staff should be suspended from work until the wounds are healed
In case of bleeding sores in eyes, ears, mouth and gums, staff should stop working
Health management should include the health checks for new recruits and health records for serving staff.
If health checks for new recruits have been arranged and staff medical records are kept, regular health checks may be arranged for the staff only if they are appropriate or when there are special needs.Health Checks
Supervisor should review the applicants’ past health records, such as whether they have ever been patients of food-borne infectious diseases or are carriers of certain diseases and consider whether the applicants are suitable for handling food, in order to prevent transmission of harmful bacteria to food in the daily work.
Employers should require job applicants to fill out health questionnaires and health declaration forms. If necessary, blood and stool samples for further test may be required upon applicants’ consent.Health Surveillance
Staff who are suffering from diseases, especially those which are highly contagious (see below), should report their health conditions to their supervisors and stop handling food.
Vomiting or Stomach upset
Fever or Flu
To prevent bacteria from contaminating the food after the food handlers have touched the surrounding objects during their work, food handlers should wash their hands in the following situations:
Before commencing work
Before handling food
After using the toilet
After handling raw food
After handling soiled equipment or utensils
Check the hygiene of their hands regularly or perform random check from time to time
Install hand-washing facilities on the way to workplace to facilitate hand washing before entering and after leaving the workplace
Wash basins shall be kept clean, ensured of adequate water supply, preferably with hot water, and equipped with liquid soap and suitable hand drying facilities
Hand washing should be frequent, thorough and performed in hand washing basins
Kitchen staff should wear the appropriate clothing, which plays a specific role in protecting the professional from everyday kitchen dangers.
Protective clothing also ensures that food is handled and prepared in a safe and sanitary environment.
Food handlers who are suffering from illnesses or open wounds, and are allowed to take part in food activities may spread Illnesses to customers.
Food handlers can carry communicable diseases, especially if they themselves have been infected. Some food poisoning bacteria are commonly found on open wounds or cuts of their bodies.
Different types of communicable diseases can be transmitted by consumption of food. Food handlers should eliminate the opportunity for pathogenic micro-organisms from being transferred to food and spread to the customer.
In which of the following situations should a food handler stop handling food, food utensils and equipment?
When they have a wound on their hand which has been covered by a plaster.
If they have a stomach ache.
Stop handling food in all of the above situations.
When washing hands, how long should you spend rubbing your hands with liquid soap?
Which of the following behaviours is not appropriate for food handlers?
Taking off earrings before working.
Eating in the common room.
Going to work with a cold.
Washing hands after touching money.
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