In any food establishment, food handlers are either the first line of defence or the cause for the need for defence against contamination. This is because most types of foods can be contaminated and it is the responsibility of the food handler to ensure the safety of the consumers. This will cover how personal hygiene should be implemented to ensure effective compliance with the current legislation and code of practice. Also covered is how to reduce, prevent, and eliminate contamination and what corrective actions are to be taken in the event of failures in food hygiene.
Personal Hygiene and Regulation (EC) No 852/ 2004
Personal hygiene is making sure that food handlers are clean and know what to do to keep food clean and safe. Every person working in food handling area is to maintain high degree of cleanliness. It is an important requirement to wear suitable, clean and protective clothing where necessary. Protective Clothing is essential for all food handlers, clothing should be clean, washable, light coloured protective clothing, preferably without external pockets. Jumper and shirt sleeves must not protrude from protective clothing. Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 also states that no person suffering from a disease likely to be transmitted through food should be permitted to handle food or enter any food handling area. Infected wounds, skin infections, sores and diarrhoea are some of the diseases that can contaminate food directly or indirectly. Staff should report if any member of their household is suffering from diarrhoea, stomach upset or vomiting. Regulation (EC) No 852/ 2004 talks about hygiene, training and food safety. High standards of personal hygiene reduce the risk of contamination and help prevent food poisoning. As the hands are always in direct contact with food, they are the main route for transferring food poisoning bacteria. Hands must be kept very clean all the time and hot water and soap must be used. Efficient drying of hands which may be achieved by using disposable towels, hot air dryers or continuous roller towels should be used. Adults can carry staphylococci in the nose and mouth. Coughs and sneezes can carry droplet infection for a considerable distance. People with bad coughs must not handle open food. Disposable single use paper tissues are preferable than handkerchiefs. Ailments must be reported to the supervisor and a medical clearance to start work may be required. Hair must be clean and tied up back when handling food and hair nets must be worn at all times. Nails harbour dirt and bacteria. They should be kept short and clean and no nail vanish should be worn. Jewellery can also carry bacteria and should not be worn when handling food. Cut and sores must be covered by waterproof dressing when working in food areas. Food handlers must be in good health in all aspects from oral hygiene to general fitness. Food handlers who excrete food poisoning must not resume food handling duties without medical clearance.
Management of Personal Hygiene
To establish controls, Personal Hygiene requirements should be compiled first. House Rules covering Personal Hygiene of staff should be listed. These are usually the House Rules already in place. Personal Hygiene Rules are an important component of HACCP based system and must be kept up to date all the time. Controls mean measures to prevent hazards; these include hand washing, appropriate clean clothing, dressings and protecting food. To manage these controls, a table of Personal Hygiene Rules should be compiled. This table describes the control measures and the critical limits. This also gives a record that helps to monitor frequency on the weekly record. Below is the table of Personal Hygiene rules which can be used to monitor controls.
Table1.1 Personal Hygiene House Rules
• Control Measures and Critical Limits
• Monitoring including frequency|
Personal Cleanliness| Hands to be washed thoroughly, before...