Good personal hygiene habits go a long way with customers. You are handling their food, and they want to see food handlers that look professional and put-together, as opposed to food handlers that follow poor hygiene habits. Hair should look neat and clean and clothes should fit properly and be free from holes.
Good personal hygiene isn’t just about appearances; it goes one step further. It’s about preventing food poisoning. Everyone carries a certain level of bacteria. Touching your eyes, mouth, nose, hair, or clothing, and then proceeding to touch food without washing your hands promotes the spread of that bacteria.
Food handlers should not only look like they follow good hygiene habits, but they should practice them too. Following the proper handwashing technique is of the utmost importance. It prevents the spread of foodborne illnesses. Hands should be washed and dried before handling food, in-between tasks like taking out the garbage, after handling raw foods, after every break, and after touching clothing, your hair, or your face. Disposable gloves should be worn and changed frequently. If you have a cut on your hand, it needs to be completely covered with a bandage and cleaned regularly.
If you feel sick or have an illness that is contagious, you should not be handling food. It is incredibly easy to spread bacteria, especially with an illness that is easily transmitted through food. If you’re experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, you should not go to work until your symptoms are gone for at least 48 hours. Let your boss know when you are experiencing these symptoms, or other issues like a cold or a contagious eye infection.
As a food handler, make sure you undergo proper training to understand safe food handling practices.