Personal hygiene

The most important way to prevent food poisoning is to wash your hands properly.

Personal hygiene is defined as:

  • Keeping the body, including the hair and especially the hands, clean
  • Avoiding poor personal hygiene habits
  • Wearing clean, protective outer clothing and appropriate headgear

Why is personal hygiene important?

  • It prevents food poisoning/contamination
  • To comply with the law
  • Appearance

When should hands be washed?

Before

  • Starting work
  • Handling food, especially if cooked or ready-to-eat, as the product will receive no further treatment to eradicate bacteria
  • Changing from one job to another, e.g. between handling money and preparing food.

And after

  • Using the toilet
  • Handling raw meat
  • Sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose
  • Touching eyes, nose, face, hair, mouth, cuts
  • Smoking, coffee/lunch breaks and cleaning duties
  • Handling money or waste

Poor personal hygiene practices

  • Smoking, coughing/sneezing over food, nail biting, nose picking and finger tasting are all poor personal hygiene practices.
  • If a food worker has an open sore or cut, they must cover this with a brightly coloured  plaster - the bright colour is easier to see if it falls into food.
  • Food workers must report all instances of diarrhoea, vomiting and skin infections to a supervisor before returning to work and must not work while suffering from these symptoms. The employee must receive medical clearance before returning to work.

Watch the video

Handwashing posterhandwashing charthandwashing activity sheet

 

<< Back