What is Personal Hygiene and Why is it Important

Hand Cleaning and Washing 1
Hand Cleaning and Washing 1

Personal Hygiene : The word Hygiene stands for cleanliness. When it comes to the food handling it becomes more relevant. We all know the appearance of staff reflects the standards of the establishment. Cleanliness starts with people.

Observing good personal hygiene habits will eliminate a major cause of food contamination. Food Hands are the elementary source of transfer of contamination of food as bacteria live in and on the human body. It is very important that food handlers keep themselves clean while they are working in the kitchen and avoid unhygienic conditions and habits that could spread bacteria. 30 food handlers have a responsibility to respect themselves and others by observing the highest standards of personal cleanliness to ensure that they do not contaminate food.


Hand Cleaning and Washing :

Our hands are handling food directly. During processing of raw material or actual preparation food items pass many hands. Most people carry some kind of food poisoning bacteria within their body. If proper attention is not paid there are chances that they may pass on the infection to the guests.

Hands need constant cleaning and attention and should be washed frequently through out the working day; particularly at the following time.

– Before coming in the kitchen for work.
– Immediately after using the toilet.
– Before handling raw food especially meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and eggs.
– After handling raw food
– After coughing or sneezing or blowing   your nose.
– After handling dirty dishes, waste food or refuse
– After your break
– After smoking
– After combing the hair
– After using cleaning materials for cleaning task.

Wash your hands frequently using soap solution or detergent in the wash basin not in the kitchen sink. This prevents transfer of bacteria from your hands to the food.

Protective Clothing :

Normal clothing gets contaminated with dust and dirt. Food handlers should wear light coloured washable, clean protective clothing and aprons so that the food does not get contaminated. Outdoor clothing should be removed in the lockers.

The sleeves of the coat should be tight to the wrist to avoid contact with the surfaces and food.

Hair should be clean and tied into the net or chef’s cap to prevent falling in the food. Hair combing should never be done in the kitchen.

Jewellery and Ornaments :

Jewellery and ornaments are not recommended in the working kitchen as there is a chance of dropping the small stones or articles in the food. They may be removed before start of work. Dust and dirt stick behind the rings and may transfer contamination to the food. Only plain wedding rings are permissible.

Smoking and chewing of Tobacco :

While smoking, lips are touched by the smoker and this may transfer the harmful bacteria to the food. Chewing of tobacco is also not permitted within the working area.

Cuts, Wounds, and other Septic spots and illness :

While working in the kitchen any cuts, Wounds, boils etc. should  be covered and the person should not be allowed to come in direct contact with the food. Always use a dark coloured water proof bandage to cover such cuts etc… Any Illness including vonuting and diarrhea should immediately be reported to the seniors to take an appropriate decision. Such workers should not allowed to work in the kitchen until and unless they are completely fit.

Other Unacceptable Personal habits :

Coughing Sneezing on food transfers maximum harmful bacteria to the food. Other bad habits may include; spitting, nail biting, fingering nose or ear, touching head or hair frequently, chewing gum eating, blowing air from mouth to shine crockery and cutlery, tasting food using fingers. These bad habits are also responsible for the contamination of food.

Food Handlers should consistently observe a daily schedule for Personal Hygiene and practice it for perfection.

In a summarized form we way put a do’s and don’t tally for food handlers as follows:-

Do’s for a food handler

– Bath/ shower daily:
– Change underclothing every day.
– Brush teeth at least twice day, preferably after every meal.
– Wash hair frequently, preferably daily.
– Keep hair and beards neatly trimmed and covered.
– Keep fingernails short and clean. Avoid nail paints.
– Remove rings and wristwatch before preparing food. Keep uniform / protective clothing and kitchen clothes clean.
– Change clothing in the clock room.
– If possible wear disposal plastic gloves when preparing high risk foods.
– Keeps cuts and burns covered with a clean, waterproof dressing.

Tell your supervisor if you are suffering from a cold, sore throat, boils, skin rash, diarrhea, upset stomach, or a septic cut. Your supervisor will decide whether you should be on duty or not

Don’t a for a food handler

– Do not comb your hair or put on make-up in the food area.
– Do not taste the food with your finger, or with one of the cooking utensils. Use spoon.
– Do not pick your nose or teeth, or scratch your head.
– Do not smoke in the food area.
– Do not cough or sneeze over food, use a tissue, and wash your hands afterwards. Do not spit.
– Do not use your apron or kitchen cloth to wipe your hands, as this will contaminate your hands.
– Do not lean or sit on work surfaces. Do not leave dirty dishes lying around, wash and put away.
– Do not leave rubbish and food scraps lying around, put into covered refuse bin.

A properly groomed kitchen personal is always confident and is sure of not transmitting any thing bad to his guest.

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