Personal Hygiene For Food Handlers

Microorganisms carried by people are one of the major sources of food-borne illness. It is important that food handlers follow good personal hygiene practices.

image of a chef

Hair control

Human hair can be both a physical and microbiological contaminant that can get into food. All food handlers working in a food premises must make sure they take reasonable precautions, such as wearing a hair covering, to prevent hair from getting into food.

Wearing headgear/hair covering while preparing food will help to:

  • Keep hair out of food and off of food contact surfaces
  • Keep people from touching their hair and then touching food

All hair should be covered by headgear that keeps hair off the forehead and the back of the neck. Headgear can include hats, hairnets, beard nets, etc.

Uniform, Clothing and Aprons

Dirty clothing may carry germs that can spread easily to food or food contact surfaces. When clothing or aprons look dirty, change them right away. Wear light coloured coloured clothing since it’s easier to see when clothing gets dirty.

All employees in a food premises must:

  • Be clean (bath or shower before going to work)
  • Wear clean outer clothing (includes aprons or uniforms)
  • Not wear aprons outside the kitchen while in contaminated areas (e.g., washrooms, outdoors)

Hands and Nails

Hands need to be cleaned well and often to keep dirt and germs from being transferred to food.

  • Wash your hands properly and often
  • Keep nails short and well trimmed
  • Avoid wearing nail polish as it can chip and fall into food
  • Avoid wearing rings, bracelets, and wrist watches as dirt and germs can get easily trapped under these items making it harder to wash your hands
  • Take care of hangnails as they can easily get infected and spread germs to food and other items touched

Proper Glove Use

Food handlers who use single-use disposable gloves when handling food must do so properly. Gloves will pick up germs the same way hands do. Glove use is not required for food handling as long as handwashing is taking place. The only time glove use is required is when you have a cut on your hand, when you are wearing a bandage, or your employer has a glove use policy.

Glove use does not eliminate the need for handwashing! Here is how to properly use gloves:

  • Wash your hands before using gloves
  • Wash your hands after removing gloves
  • Change gloves when you change tasks
  • Change gloves when there is any potential contamination (e.g., after touching raw meat)
  • Do not re-use the same gloves after removing them
  • Do not wash disposable gloves
  • Be sure to wear gloves if you have a cut or have a bandage (e.g. Band-Aid) on.

When You’re Sick

If you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea, you must not prepare or serve any food and you should not go to work.

You should not return to work until 24 hours after your symptoms have stopped. See a healthcare provider if you have symptoms of food-borne illness or food poisoning.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 519-258-2146 ext. 4475.