Personal Hygiene and Food Preparation

Good practices of hygiene are essential for food preparation, not only in industry but in the domestic setting also, to avoid illness and even death.

In Industry

Employers and staff have legal and moral obligations to protect the consumer from becoming ill following the consumption of their products.

Rules and regulations set out by governing bodies must be adhered to and the employer must ensure that all staff are aware of policies and practices by using thorough training techniques. Employees are then responsible for their actions and must adhere to polices and procedures that are recommended.

Hats, gloves, masks and first aid equipment are all provided to prevent the spread of disease and avoid poisoning, which should be used when required.

Domestic Food Preparation

As the employer would be educated in industry, the cook in the domestic setting must be aware of the need to keep surfaces clean at all times.

Pets should not be permitted to share cooking and eating spaces and should be allocated separate eating and toilet environments.

Babies’ bottles and feeding equipment should be sterilised following the manufacturers instructions, and children should not be encouraged to eat off the floor.

Children should be educated from a very early age about the importance of personal hygiene and food preparation.

General Advice

  • Hand washing is extremely important when working with food. A suitable flow of water, cleansing agent and separate towel should be readily available.
  • Hands should be washed at least following these actions: before and after food preparation, before and after using kitchen utensils, after using the toilet, after sneezing, coughing, blowing the nose, smoking, touching the hair or face and emptying bins.
  • Never use food that has fallen to the floor even if the floor looks clean; the soles of shoes can carry millions of harmful bacteria including those from dog faeces!
  • Do not cook if unwell, have a known infection or have an open and uncovered wound.
  • The use of a clean and washable apron will help to prevent the cross contamination of bacteria from clothing to food stuff and vice versa.
  • Best practices include cleaning and tidying as you cook to prevent not just contamination of food items but to avoid accidents.
  • Clean cupboards, fridges etc. frequently, using a suitable cleansing agent. Surfaces should be wiped down before and after contact with food.
  • Thoroughly cook meat and never share the surface or utensils used for raw meat or poultry with any other items until it has been thoroughly cleaned and dried.
  • Jewellery should be removed, especially that with intricate design as these items can be a haven for bacteria which can transfer easily to food or utensils.
  • Wounds should be covered with a waterproof plaster after being cleaned, preferably a blue colour, as there are no natural food products that are blue, so is the easiest to spot if it becomes loose and falls off.
  • Check expiry dates of products before using.
  • Do not share cutlery with others unless washing in between, and never taste from a utensil that is going to be placed back into the food source before it is served.

Personal hygiene is very important for preventing poisoning and illness. Hand washing, maintaining general cleanliness and being aware of the dangers of cross contamination between raw and cooked meats are the most important factors to remember when preparing food.

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