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Implement these controls to ensure safe food handling and avoid India's school meal tragedy

by , 17 July 2013
At least 20 children have died in India and many others were sick after eating a free school lunch that was tainted by a heavy dose of insecticide. It wasn't immediately clear how chemicals ended up in the food in a school in the eastern state of Bihar, though one official said the food may not have been properly washed before it was cooked, abcnews reports. While this tragedy happened at a school, your business isn't immune to food contamination if you provide food to your staff. Here are the 15 good hygiene practices your food handlers can use to prevent contamination.

'Providing healthy food, clean facilities and nutritionally designed meals is as important to your employees as protecting them from chemicals and noise,' says the Health and Safety Advisor.

If your facilities and provision of food causes harm to your employees in any way, you could be fined, sentenced to prison and even lose your business! Your employees can become seriously ill and even die.

To prevent this from happening in your workplace, ensure your food handlers use these good hygiene practices when handling food.

14 good hygiene practices your food handlers can use when preparing food

#1: Food handlers must wash and dry their hands:

  • Before and after handling food
  • After going to the toilet
  • After handling rubbish
  • After blowing their nose
  • After sneezing
  • After coughing
  • After scratching
  • After touching their hair.

#2: Ensure food handlers report any illness before they start work.

#3: Food handlers mustn't work when suffering from diarrhea or vomiting.

#4: Ensure food handlers don't handle food if they have scaly, weeping or infected skin which can't be totally covered during food handling.

#5: Food handlers must ensure cuts and abrasions on exposed areas are totally covered with a distinctively coloured waterproof dressing.

#6: Food handlers mustn't spit in food handling areas.

#7: Food handlers mustn't smoke in food handling areas.

#8: Ensure food handlers don't eat or chew gum in food handling areas.

#9: Tell food handlers that tasting, sampling and eating is inappropriate when preparing and handling food for employees.

#10: Ensure food handlers wear clean protective clothing daily, including appropriate hair covering.

#11: Ensure work surfaces, utensils and equipment are clean.

#12: Encourage food handlers to use utensils such as tongs, forks and scoops, rather than bare hands when preparing food and gloves if utensils aren't appropriate.

#13: Tell food handlers to open paper bags with tongs rather than with their hands. They mustn't open them by blowing into them.

#14: When selling food, your food handlers must avoid handling money and unwrapped food with the same hand. They must designate one hand for food handling and the other for money transactions.

To avoid food contamination, ensure your food handlers use these good hygiene practices when handling food.

Turn to chapter H01 of your Health and Safety Training to read more on how you can keep your kitchen hygienically clean for your food handlers.  
 

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