Know your Responsibilities – Food Handlers
It is not only the proprietor of a food business who is responsible should either food hygiene or health and safety problems arise. Staff employed as food handlers are also individually responsible for complying with the law.
The Food Hygiene(England)(No.2) Regulations 2005 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 all apply to food handlers as well as their employers.
THE FOOD HYGIENE (ENGLAND)(No.2) REGULATIONS 2006
Anyone who works in a food handling area is required to keep a high degree of personal cleanliness and must wear suitable, clean and where appropriate, protective clothing. In practice, this means that you should always wash your hands:
-as soon as you enter the kitchen.
-before handling ready to eat food
-after you have been to the toilet.
-after eating, drinking, scratching, smoking, coughing or blowing your nose.
-after handling raw meat, poultry or fish, and raw vegetables.
-after handling rubbish.
-after any other activity which may have contaminated the hands.
Additionally, anyone who works in a food handling area should:
-keep themselves clean.
-keep their hair clean and covered/tied.
-keep fingernails short, clean and without varnish.
-wear suitable clean and washable work clothing
-cover any cuts or wounds with a completely waterproof plaster or dressing.
(There are special blue coloured plasters available which are highly visible.)
Food handlers must not expose food to risk of contamination by:
-smoking and/or spitting.
-eating and/or drinking.
-wearing jewellery although there is an exception for a simple wedding ring.
-wearing or storing outdoor clothing
where food is handled or prepared.
You are not allowed to work as a food handler if you are suffering from an illness which can
be transmitted through food. You must report any stomach upset, sickness or diarrhoea to
your supervisor. Food handlers should not return to work until they have been symptom
free for 48 hours.
You must also report any open cuts, wounds, skin conditions, nose and throat infections.