Personal Hygiene

Earlier in this chapter,we said that most food-borne disease is caused by bacteria. Now we change that statement slightly to say that most food-borne disease is caused by bacteria spread by food workers.

At the beginning of this chapter,we defined contamination as harmful substances not present originally in the food. Some contamination occurs before we receive the food, which means that proper purchasing and receiving procedures are important parts of a sanitation program. But most food contamination occurs as a result of cross-contamination, which may be defined as the transferring of hazardous substances, mainly microorganisms, to a food from another food or another surface, such as equip-ment,worktables, or hands. Some examples of situations in which cross-contamination can occur include the following:

• Mixing contaminated leftovers with a freshly cooked batch of food.

• Handling ready-to-eat foods with unclean hands. Handling several types of foods without washing hands in between.

• Cutting raw chicken, then using the same cutting board, unsanitized, to cut vegetables.

• Placing ready-to-eat foods on a lower refrigerator shelf and allowing juices from raw fish or meat to drip onto them from an upper shelf.

• Wiping down work surfaces with a soiled cloth.

For the food worker, the first step in preventing food-borne disease is good personal hygiene. Even when we are healthy, we have bacteria all over our skin and in our nose and mouth. Some of these bacteria,if given the chance to grow in food,will make people ill.

1 . Do not work with food if you have any communicable disease or infection.

2. Bathe or shower daily.

3. Wear clean uniforms and aprons.

4. Keep hair neat and clean. Always wear a hat or hairnet.

5. Keep mustaches and beards trimmed and clean. Better yet, be clean-shaven.

6. Wash hands and exposed parts of arms before work and as often as necessary during work, including:

• After eating, drinking, or smoking.

• After using the toilet.

• After touching or handling anything that may be contaminated with bacteria.

7. Cover coughs and sneezes, then wash hands.

8. Keep your hands away from your face,eyes,hair, and arms.

9. Keep fingernails clean and short. Do not wear nail polish. 1 0. Do not smoke or chew gum while on duty.

1 1 . Cover cuts or sores with clean bandages. 1 2. Do not sit on worktables.

Pr rocedure for Washing Hands

1. Wet your hands with hot running water. Use water as hot as you can comfortably stand, but at least 100°F (38°C).

2. Apply enough soap to make a good lather.

3. Rub hands together thoroughly for 20 seconds or longer, washing not only the hands but the wrists and the lower part of the forearms.

4. Using a nail brush, clean beneath the fingernails and between the fingers.

5. Rinse hands well under hot running water. If possible, use a clean paper towel to turn off the water to avoid contaminating the hands by contact with soiled faucets.

6. Dry hands with clean single-use paper towels or a warm-air hand dryer.


If used correctly,gloves can help protect foods against cross-contamination. If used incorrectly, however, they can spread contamination just as easily as bare hands. Health departments in some localities require the use of some kind of barrier between hands and any foods that are ready to eat—that is, foods that will be served without further cooking. Gloves, tongs, and other serving implements, and bakery or deli tissue can serve as barriers.To be sure gloves are used correctly, observe the following guidelines.

uidelines for Using Disposable Gloves

1. Wash hands before putting on gloves or when changing to another pair. Gloves are not a substitute for proper handwashing.

2. Remove and discard gloves, wash hands, and change to a clean pair of gloves after handling one food item and before starting work on another. In particular, never to fail to change gloves after handling raw meat, poultry, or seafood. Gloves are for single use only. Remember that the purpose of using gloves is to avoid cross-contamination.

3. Change to a clean pair of gloves whenever gloves become torn, soiled, or contaminated by contact with an unsanitary surface.

Continue reading here: Food Storage

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