Explore the role personal hygiene plays with food safety, and how a clean kitchen significantly helps protect the health of restaurant guests.
Welcome to week two of National Food Safety Month! Last week we got NFSM 2023 started by discussing how to properly control food time and temperature for safety. This week we will look at the role personal hygiene plays in food safety and share proper practices to ensure your staff isn’t putting the health of your guests at risk by neglecting their cleanliness. Join us as we crack the code on proper personal hygiene in kitchens and help you protect your guests from foodborne illnesses by maintaining a clean and tidy staff.
Practicing Proper Personal Cleanliness
While guests appreciate employees who keep themselves looking clean and presentable, it also plays a significant role in the safety of their food. There are various factors that combine to create proper personal cleanliness, all of which deserve equal attention.
Coming into Work Clean
One of the primary places for pathogens to be found is the skin and hair. There is a far greater risk of transferring pathogens onto food and equipment if a food handler does follow a personal hygiene program and comes into work unclean. Showering or bathing before work is the only way this can be effectively and reliably accomplished and should be considered a requirement for all food handlers.
Practicing good personal hygiene includes maintaining clean hands and nails. Make sure your staff’s fingernails are trimmed, filed, and free from nail polish or false nails. It’s also important for food handlers to keep their hands clean throughout their shift by knowing when, where, and how to wash hands and wear gloves.
Not only does dirty work attire leave a poor impression on guests, but it also puts their health at greater risk. Dirty, unwashed clothing has an increased risk of carrying pathogens that can be transferred onto food and cause foodborne illnesses. What makes clean work attire so important is that dirty clothing doesn’t even have to come into direct contact with the food, as the pathogens can easily be transferred from the clothing to the hands, and then onto food.
The most effective way to ensure your staff is always arriving at work with properly cleaned attire is by establishing a dress code that includes standards for the cleanliness of work attire. Examples of guidelines you will find on these dress codes include:
- Wear clean clothing daily.
- Change soiled uniforms, including aprons, as necessary.
- Recommend changing into work clothes at work.
- Store personal belongings such as street clothing, backpacks, electronic devices, and keys in designed areas that do not interact with food.
- Keep dirty clothing such as aprons, chef coats, and uniforms in an area that is away from food and prep areas.
- Wear a clean hat or hair covering when prepping food, working in prep areas, or working in areas used to clean utensils or equipment. Wear a beard covering when necessary.
- Remove rings, bracelets, and other jewelry that could contaminate or fall into food.
The Importance of Personal Hygiene
Transferring pathogens from body to food is the leading cause of foodborne-illness outbreaks at restaurant and foodservice operations. Neglecting personal hygiene significantly increases the chances of transferring harmful pathogens onto food, while prioritizing effective personal cleanliness is one of the best ways to protect the health of your guests.
Cracking the Code on Food Safety
Join us next week when we continue National Food Safety Month by taking a look at health inspections and health code violations to ensure your establishment remains safe and compliant. Also, make sure to check out last week’s coverage on temperature and food safety which includes an eBook, temperature table, and blog.
Plus, we’re offering 20% off all ServSafe certifications and trainings, including our ServSafe Manager, ServSafe Food Handler, and ServSafe Allergens certification courses all month long! Crack the code on effective food safety with industry-leading training developed by the nation’s most trusted restaurant resource.