Food Handler Behaviour – Clean Hands

The final blog in this series of food handler behaviour relates to clean hands. For the food handlers, it is very important to be proactive about their hygiene habits. This not just ensures personal safety, but also helps prevent any kind of cross-contamination that can happen due to improper food handling. Food handlers should constantly be aware of their hand hygiene. Food handlers can prevent bacteria and other contaminates from building up beneath their nails by keeping nails clean, trim and avoiding wearing fake nails and nail polish. Additionally, jewelry that is on the hands and wrists should also be removed to allow effective hand washing.

It is important to know that nothing substitutes handwashing when handling food. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you can ignore other food safety habits like washing the food cutting plant or separating the raw materials inside a refrigerator. If gloves are used in preparing or serving food, hands must continue to be thoroughly washed prior to wearing gloves. Gloves must also be disposed of after each task.

Hands must be washed using the 6 steps of hand washing:

When to Wash Hands

It is not just important to know how to wash hands to avoid any kind of cross-contamination, but one must also keep in mind when to wash hands. For example, you cannot expect to avoid food contamination by washing your hands after you are done cooking. So, you must know the right time to wash your hands for proper food safety. The kitchen is home to various types of germs and bacteria, which must be avoided when you are cooking food. Some of these germs, like Salmonella, can make you or your customers very sick.

  • Before commencing work.
  • Before, during and after preparing food.
  • After smoking.
  • After using the washroom.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • After touching garbage, clearing tables or handling soiled objects.
  • After break/returning to work.
  • After changing tasks.
  • After handling raw food.
  • Before wearing gloves.

Steps to Handwashing

Apart from knowing when to wash your hands, it is also important to know how to wash your hands as this is the only way to prevent the spreading of germs and bacteria across the food items. Here are some steps you must follow to properly wash hands:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water
  • Apply soap and lather your hands by rubbing them together. Make sure to also lather the backs of your hands and other areas like fingers, and under your nails.
  • Keep scrubbing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse your hands properly with clean water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

The Probe It online food safety course provides food handlers with the knowledge they need to safely prepare, handle and serve food. It consist of 10 online learning modules that are engaging and interesting for the learner. Sign up now to learn about food safety tips that you can implement at home or at work.