08 Jul 2019 The importance of Personal Hygiene in a Commercial Kitchen
When things go wrong in a commercial kitchen, it is seldom just because of one failing in the kitchen’s processes. Instead it tends to be a cascade of issues: up to three, four or more errors or deficiencies that accumulate into an unwanted situation. Often, somewhere in this cascade will be a mention of hygiene practices not followed or systems ignored.
For example, anyone working in a kitchen should wash their hands often: when they first walk into the kitchen and then after each task as a minimum. Should the worker be sneezing, coughing or touching their hair or face a lot, hand washing should be even more rigorous. However, hair should always be covered.
PPE and Uniforms
Using the appropriate PPE and uniforms is a good way for management to ensure that kitchen workers can work at the standards of cleanliness required. Hair should always be tied up or brushed back and concealed under a cap or a hair net, and any chef’s jacket or apron should be put on after hair has been sorted out so that any loose hairs are caught under the clothing, rather than on top, ready to fall into the food that is about to be served.
Returning to hand washing, there are many reasons why frequent hand-washing is desirable – even essential. For example, if a particular counter has not been properly sanitised and a worker has touched it, they will be contaminated with whatever microbes or dirt is on that counter and there is a risk that the contamination will be spread elsewhere in the kitchen and even to the food that is being prepared. However, as soon as they wash their hands, this risk is dramatically reduced, and the contamination is probably stopped in its tracks. In this way, the hand-washing has halted what might otherwise have escalated into a cascade, as mentioned above.
Personal Hygiene Training
Every person who works in a kitchen, from management to the kitchen porter, should be fully trained and aware that their personal hygiene can have an impact on the cleanliness of the kitchen as a whole. Management should ensure that workers are properly trained and that they have appropriate cleaning materials and facilities to hand, along with adequate uniforms.