Personal hygiene is important to prevent contamination of food and food contact surfaces from inappropriate clothing and behaviour. In addition, good personal hygiene creates a positive image.
Good hygiene includes:
- Outer protective clothing (eg aprons etc.) is only worn in the food preparation area and must be removed when going to the toilet, lunch room etc. The protective clothes must be clean every day, changed if soiled at work, and light in colour so dirt and stains are easily seen
- Hair should be tied back and preferably covered
- Food handlers must not spit, sneeze or cough over food
- Smoking is not permitted in the food preparation area
- Food handlers should avoid touching nose, mouth, hair and skin during food preparation
- Keep fingernails short and clean, with no false nails, nail varnish or other nail decoration
- Wear minimum jewellery – a plain wedding band is acceptable
- Food is not to be eaten in food preparation areas
Hand washing and drying is one of the best ways to prevent harmful microbes from contaminating food either directly through touching food or indirectly by touching objects that come into contact with the food eg knives, chopping boards etc.
Wash hands thoroughly with liquid soap and warm water, scrub under the nails with soap and a clean nail brush. Dry with single-use paper towels. It is important to dry thoroughly because organisms thrive in a moist environment.
You must wash your hands:
- When entering any area where unwrapped ready-to-eat food is handled (sandwiches)
- Before touching raw food (meat, veges etc)
- After touching raw food, rubbish, money or chemicals
- After coughing and sneezing
- After using the toilet
- After smoking
- After taking a break, eating or drinking
- Before putting on gloves and after removing them – gloves do not protect food from cross-contamination – treat them like your hands