When working with food, personal items should be handled properly to prevent contamination, which can lead to foodborne illnesses. Whether you are preparing food at home or in a professional kitchen, it is essential to follow proper hygiene practices to maintain the safety and quality of your food. Below are some best practices for handling personal items when working with food.
Why Handling Personal Items Properly Is Important
Personal items, such as jewelry, accessories, and clothing, can harbor harmful bacteria that can contaminate food. When you work with food, you must handle it with clean hands and avoid touching anything that may be contaminated. By following proper hygiene practices, you can minimize the risks associated with cross-contamination.
Best Practices for Handling Personal Items When Working with Food
1. Remove Jewelry and Accessories
It is best to remove all jewelry and accessories, such as rings, bracelets, watches, necklaces, and earrings, when handling food. These items can easily pick up bacteria and germs and can be difficult to clean thoroughly. If you must wear jewelry, make sure it is secure and does not dangle, which can touch food or kitchen surfaces.
2. Tie Long Hair Back
If you have long hair, it should be tied back or covered with a hat or bandana to prevent it from falling into food. Loose hair can become tangled in equipment or utensils and can also harbor bacteria.
3. Wear Protective Clothing
When working with food, wear clean, protective clothing that covers your entire body. Long-sleeved, button-up shirts and pants are best, as they are less likely to come into contact with food. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes, as they can get caught in equipment or utensils and can also harbor bacteria.
4. Use Disposable Gloves
Disposable gloves can protect food from contamination from your hands. They can also protect your hands from hot or cold temperatures and harmful chemicals. When using gloves, remember to change them regularly, especially after handling different types of food or touching other surfaces or objects.
5. Wash Your Hands Frequently
Washing your hands should be a regular practice when working with food. Use warm water and soap, and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Dry your hands thoroughly with a clean paper towel or air dryer. You should wash your hands before and after handling food, after using the restroom, after handling garbage, and after blowing your nose or sneezing.
6. Avoid Touching Your Face, Nose, or Mouth
Touching your face, nose, or mouth with your hands can transfer bacteria and germs from your hands to your mouth, which can lead to illness. Avoid touching your face or mouth when working with food.
7. Store Personal Items Properly
When not in use, personal items should be stored away from food and kitchen surfaces to prevent contamination. Store hats, bandanas, and aprons in designated areas away from food prep areas. Store personal items, such as cell phones and wallets, in a designated locker or other secure area.
Proper hygiene practices are crucial when working with food. By following the above best practices for handling personal items, you can help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and contaminants that can cause foodborne illnesses. Remember to always wash your hands, use disposable gloves, and avoid touching your face or mouth when working with food.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is cross-contamination?
- Can jewelry be worn when working with food?
- What should I do if I have a cut on my hand?
- What should I do if I accidentally drop personal items into food?
- How often should I change gloves?
Cross-contamination occurs when harmful bacteria are transferred from one surface or object to another, contaminating the food.
It is best to remove all jewelry and accessories when handling food to prevent contamination.
If you have a cut on your hand, cover it with a bandage or glove to prevent it from coming into contact with food. If the cut is bleeding, do not handle food until it has stopped.
If you accidentally drop personal items into food, discard the food and start over.
You should change gloves regularly, especially after handling different types of food or touching other surfaces or objects.
- United States Department of Agriculture. (2021). Food Safety Basics: Be Food Safe. Retrieved from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-basics/be-food-safe
- Food and Drug Administration. (2021). Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/handwashing-clean-hands-save-lives
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Food Safety. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/index.html