Personal Hygiene in Food Businesses
The Need for Personal Hygiene
Poor Personal Hygiene Practices
The most common practice that contaminates food and the food environment is talking and singing whilst cooking. This action results in copious amounts of saliva being dosed into the food and surfaces around the food. Aprons used for cooking could be a source of contamination too. It is important for manufacturers and restaurant operators to provide at least five working cloths for employees for a five-day production cycle. If the company works seven days in a week, each employee should have at least 7 work clothes. If the clothing or apron gets soiled especially with a highly contaminated product in the course of work, it must be changed immediately. I have seen too many workers in food factories and restaurants wearing visibly soiled clothing.
A hygiene policy generally states an establishment’s commitment to manufacture or cook food under very hygienic conditions to ensure consumer safety. Those that have a lot of human activities may want to emphasize the personal hygiene aspect of the policy by stating their commitment to ensure persons working in the establishment observe strict personal hygiene rules. The pillars that underpin such a policy may include; covering of hair, keeping nails short, no artificial nails permitted in the kitchen, no makeup, no spitting, no jewellery including necklaces, bracelets, watches, rings etc. Employees with long hair must tie them back and ensure they get inside the hairnet. Men should not wear beards when working in high care areas and kitchens. If for one reason or another, men would like to keep their beard, they must cover them with beard nets.
Protective clothing worn at food premises and restaurants should be made according to strict specifications including; clean and easy to clean, no buttons but only studs and velcro fastenings, inside pockets, light coloured and short sleeved.
Benefits of Good Personal Hygiene/Consequences of Poor Personal Hygiene
The consequences of poor personal hygiene are the reverse of the benefits. Complaints of food poisoning become the order of the day. The safety of consumers is generally at risk and as a result the image of the establishment may be tarnished. In most instances such establishments may be closed down by regulatory authorities.
Johnson Opoku-Boateng is the Executive Director & Lead Consultant, QA CONSULT (Consultants and Trainers in Quality/Safety Management, Manufacturing Excellence and Food Safety) and can be reached on +233209996002, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.