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Preventing Food Processing Contamination: Employee Hygiene

employee food and hygiene food manufacturing

Hygiene and cleanliness are of utmost importance in any production line and especially those dealing with food and beverage. This blog will address major points of protocol and health regulations that every employer should use to keep their product above board.

We will start with requirements that all Operations and Maintenance Managers in food manufacturing should ask of their employees.

1. Ensure Employees Wear Suitable Clothing

Firstly, all employees should wear garments suitable for their job.

  • Impermeable gloves are a necessity and should be kept clean and sanitary at all times.

  • It is also important that all jewellery is removed when working because it can be a source of negative microorganisms.

  • Footwear that is suitable for the job is especially important in the food manufacturing industry. It needs to be sturdy, comfortable, and - more than anything - clean. If needed, provide specialised footwear or have workers use a dedicated indoor pair of footwear in the workplace. Don’t let footwear cross contaminate areas by making sure that if workers are wearing their normal shoes to work they are clean or covered.

  • If uniforms are required, more than one should be provided and they should be cleaned regularly. There should be no reason to have dirty uniforms in the workplace. It is unsanitary and shows a lack of respect for the company, too. Think about providing facilities to wash the uniforms if a very stringent procedure is needed.

  • Ensure that effective hair protection is used in areas where food contamination is an issue, such as places where food products, contact surfaces and packaging areas are exposed. If necessary, also provide facial protection for facial hair.

All clothing should be comfortable, simple and easy to clean.

2. Have A Personal Storage Area

It is also necessary that all employees are provided with suitable secure storage space to store items that are inappropriate for a packing floor. Items such as chewing gum, food, beverages and tobacco should be stored and their use confined to the storage area.

Precautions must also be taken to prevent contamination from foreign sources, including; cosmetics, perspiration, nail polish, chemicals, and medical products applied to the skin.

3. Enforce the Correct Hand Washing Procedure

An essential part of hygiene is thorough hand washing. Although it is a daily process for most people, it would be wrong to assume that all employees will know the correct procedure for your kind of workplace.

Hand washing should occur prior to work or anytime hands are soiled which includes after lunch, a toilet break or anytime hands come into contact with food or cigarettes. Put simply, employees must wash their hands any time they are returning to their workstation.

Below is an 8 step process for hand washing that should be posted around your facility and possibly even distributed to each employee.

1. Wet hands with clean warm or hot water

2. Apply soap

3. Scrub hands and fingernails for 20 seconds

4. Rinse off soap thoroughly with clean water

5. Dry hands with single use towels

6. Discard of used towels in trash

7. Use appropriate hand sanitiser to sanitise your hands (make sure it is a no-touch dispenser)

8. Dry hands

For more information on how you can prevent external contamination in your food processing plant, please download the complete guide:

 

Free Guide: Contamination Prevention in Food Manufacturing

Topics: food and hygiene, food manufacturing contaminants, food processing contamination, food contamination policy

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