Welcome to "Part Two: Health and Hygeine What is biological contamination? How does food worker health affect safety? What should you do when you are sick? What does good personal hygiene mean? Find the answers to these and other important Food Safety questions including: Proper handwashing and when it's important How to avoid barehand contact with ready to eat foods Glove Use and how personal habits can affect food safety. Of all the types hazards that can arise from unsafe food handling practices, Biological Contamination is the most common.

Our world is filled with germs, and some can make us sick. It’s those harmful pathogens that cause foodborne illness. Food worker health is one of the most important factors to preventing foodborne illness. It’s simple, when you are sick, do not work with food. Germs can easily be spread if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, jaundice, or other illness. If you are sick stay home. Remember the 24 hour rule- Vomiting, Diarrhea, Fever with Sore Throat, or jaundice. Stay home for 24 hours after the last symptom. If my employees are sick I tell them to go home and comeback when they are feeling better – it’s not worth the risk Besides being aware of your own health and knowing that when you are sick, that you pose a risk to the public – being aware of your personal hygiene is another aspect of avoiding contaminants in the food you serve.

In fact, food workers with good personal hygiene save lives. Following proper hand washing protocol, by washing your hands the right way and at the right times, keeping fingernails trimmed for easier cleaning, wearing hair restraints and proper work clothing and covering cuts and burns with bandages and gloves – in addition to not working while sick – are all ways that hygiene prevents the spread of germs in the kitchen. Handwashing is something that we all learned at a very young age- but if you want to work as a food handler it is important to re-learn this task in the proper way that complies with the health department guidelines. But first lets review the times that it is necessary to wash up. Wash your hands throughout the day, even when hands look clean, to keep germs out of your body and the food you prepare. Always wash before you begin food preparation and when you have been contaminated by exposure to potential germs.

Contamination can be caused by using the bathroom- touching ones face or nose – handling raw meat, fish or poultry- sneezing, coughing or blowing ones nose – handling garbage or dirty dishes – handling animals or using chemicals – or after taking a break, eating or smoking. If you aren’t sure if a wash is necessary, wash anyway just to be safe. Proper handwashing is a six step process that requires a handwashing sink with hot and cold running water, soap, and paper towels or other single-use drying method.

Step 1: Get hands wet to help the soap work Step 2: Apply soap and scrub, Remember to pay attention to your entire hand when washing. Step 3: Rub your hands for a full 20 seconds. This is how long it takes for soap to kill germs. Step 4: Scrub the backs of your hands and between your fingers, a common breeding ground for bacteria. Scrub your forearms. They frequently touch food, food prep surfaces, and utensils. Step 5: Rinse hands to send the soap suds and germs down the drain. Rinse for about 5 seconds to fully remove the soap. Step 6: After rinsing, dry hands and forearms with disposable paper towels or an air blower. Don’t use cloth towels or dishrags, which can stay damp and recontaminate your hands. It’s important to know that hand sanitizers may be helpful on clean hands, but are NOT substitutes for handwashing. In fact, in some cases double hand washing may be required. Always remember that hand washing is the most important food safety tool to get rid of the germs that make people ill.

When in doubt, wash. But germs can remain on your hands even after washing, that’s why it is important to prevent bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food by using utensils such as tongs, scoops, deli papers, or single-use gloves. Focus on minimizing bare-hand-contact. Utensils, Tongs, Tissue paper – these are all acceptable when handling ready-to-eat foods- so you don’t need to glove up as often as you would think. Remember when you do use gloves, it is required to wash before and sometimes after glove use.

Ready-to-eat foods are those served without additional washing or cooking to remove germs – and they include washed produce that is eaten raw such as sliced fruit, salads, and garnishes – foods that will not be cooked such as sandwiches, sushi, and deli salads – bakery or bread items such as breads, cakes, pies, and tortilla chips – ice that may be used in drinks or foods that have already been cooked. Gloves can be tricky because if a food handler thinks they are using gloves correctly- and they aren’t- they can put the public at an increased risk by contamination. Gloves are there to protect food from germs, not your hands from the food – so remember to change them often and never wash or reuse them, especially if between working with raw and ready-to-eat food When you’re done with them be sure they go in the trash and wash your hands afterwards. When it comes to health and hygiene as a defense against food borne illness, it’s important to realize that personal habits affect food safety.

You may not eat, drink, or use any type of tobacco in food prep areas. This is to prevent spills and reduce contamination Use hair restraints that are intended to keep hands out of hair and hair out of food. Hair must always be restrained when working around food or in food prep areas. Hair restraints include hairnets, barrettes, ponytail holders, and tight braids. Long beards must also be restrained. Fingernails must be trimmed for easier cleaning. If nail polish or artificial nails are worn you must wear gloves when preparing all foods, not just ready-to-eat foods. Jewelry including rings, watches, bracelets, and all other jewelry on arms or hands must be removed during food preparation. Wedding rings may be worn if they are covered with a glove when the food worker is preparing food. Personal items like medicine, coats, and purses must be stored away from food, dishes, and linens.

Let's review "Part Two: Health and Hygeine We learned that biological contamination is caused by germs on our bodies and in our environment, and that if you are sick – Don't come to work, Follow the 24 hour rule, and check in with your Person-in-charge about your symptoms. Follow proper handwashing steps at the correct times to avoid biological contamination. Avoid barehand contact with ready-to-eat-foods. Use gloves to protect food, not your hands – and wash before and after glove use. Be aware of your own personal habits and hygiene as a defense against Food Borne Illness..

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