6. Personal hygiene of food handlers
In order to avoid risks, food handlers have to be careful with:
- Hygienic habits: It is prohibited in the workplace: smoking, chewing gum, eating, coughing, sneezing or blowing on food, talking on food (might cause microorganisms we have in our saliva to fall on the food).
One of the most important habits when working as a food handler is the correct HAND WASHING. Hand washing will be frequent and there are times when it is mandatory.
Wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap, rubbing well between your fingers, and with a hand brush between your nails. Then we’ll dry ourselves with single-use paper.
Things to keep in mind when handling food
To avoid the risks that may arise, we must take into account different prevention activities that we as food handlers can and must carry out. One of the most important food handling rules is to maintain proper food hygiene and handling at the workplace, which we will explain in more detail below.
The food hygiene rules applicable to handlers would cover different areas, which means that the handler must take care of: health, personal hygiene, wearing the appropriate work clothes and maintaining hygienic habits when handling food.
Take care of your health
They should take care of their health, and if they are ill they should inform their superior as soon as possible, so that they can determine whether or not their seriousness may affect the food.
If we have nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, severe skin conditions, or symptoms of a food-borne illness, we will not be able to perform our job on a temporary basis until you are fully recovered, and it is important that you be advised of this as soon as possible.
If you have cuts or wounds on your hands, they should be disinfected and then covered with waterproof bandages (or strips) that we will cover with gloves, so that they cannot fall off and fall into the food. This will prevent the micro-organisms in the wound from contaminating the food.
The most frequent sources of transmission of microorganisms are through the hands, mouth, mucous membranes, and intestine.
Therefore, a high degree of personal hygiene must be maintained, which includes at a minimum going to work in the shower (soap and water), having clean hair, brushing your teeth, and keeping your nails short and clean.
Appropriate work clothing
Work clothes should be exclusively for work and food handling, and should preferably be light-coloured. It should be clean and neat, and should not be taken out on the street or in places where it may become contaminated.
In the case of going out to other places, work clothes should be exchanged for street clothes.
The hat or hairnet should cover the hair completely to prevent it from falling on the food. It also helps us not to touch our hair and then touch the food... and both men and women should wear the hat or hairnet.
It is not allowed to carry personal items while handling food, so jewelry, earrings, watches, pendants, bracelets, rings, piercings, etc... will be removed before the start of the working day. This is explained by the fact that objects accumulate dirt that can be transferred to the food, can also fall into the food and reach the final consumer, and can even cause accidents at work due to being hooked up with them while working.
If gloves are needed for work, they should be kept clean and unbroken. Even if you wear gloves, you should also wash your hands before putting them on, and be as careful as if you didn't wear them.
Hygienic habits when handling food
- Do not thaw food at room temperature, it is best to thaw it overnight or the day before in the refrigerator or use the microwave to thaw food.
The right way to wash your hands
For proper food handling hygiene, one of the most important habits for treating food is proper hand washing. We have a large number of bacteria on our hands, which we can "pass" on to food, so if we wash our hands well and at the right time we will avoid a large number of food-borne diseases.
Wash your hands with hot water and bactericidal soap, rubbing well between your fingers, and with a hand brush clean between your nails. Then we dry with single-use paper and never with air.
Hand washing will be frequent and there are times when it is mandatory to wash your hands:
- After smoking.
Poor food handling practices
In order to guarantee the safety and hygiene of food handling, certain practices must be avoided:
- Wear long, painted or decorated nails.