Personal Hygiene Rules in the Kitchen

Taking care to be clean, especially while working in the kitchen, is of vital importance for the health and well-being of yourself and your family. Working without personal hygiene increases the chances of contaminating food with bacteria, dirt, etc. that may be carried on your hands or person and may even cause food poisoning.

Hair Back

Hair continually sheds and is hard to contain. A personal hygiene rule in the kitchen before starting food preparation should be to tie back hair. If need be, shorter hair can be clipped away from the face so it does not dangle over the food preparation area. Without thought, hair falling into the face may lead to pushing it out of the way with your hands. If you catch yourself doing this, retie or re-clip your hair back and wash your hands.


Remove jewelry such as necklaces or dangling earrings that may hang into the food preparation area . Also remove any jewelry in which food might become entrenched as you prepare it.

Wash Hands

Before starting food preparation, always wash your hands. Washing hands means using warm water and soap. Wash your hands and wrists and any part of the arms that might come in contact with the food you’ll be preparing. Wash under fingernails as well. Rinse and wipe until dry. Should you need to take a bathroom break or you sneeze or cough, re-wash your hands. If you feel a sneeze or cough starting, turn or move away from the food area and cover your mouth. Clean any counters, pans, etc. on which you may have inadvertently coughed or sneezed.

Cover Up

When in the kitchen, cover your clothes with a clean apron or towel. An apron makes sure that the clothing surface closest to the food being prepared is clean. Clothes worn all day to the office, shopping, school and whatever else present a hygiene problem when dealing with food preparation. Raw food is especially vulnerable to contamination.

Double Dipping

Germs are easily spread from one person to another. When tasting food with a spoon, always wash it thoroughly in hot water, before using it to taste again. Reusing a spoon or other implement without cleaning it between times can introduce your germs into the food you are preparing. If you’ve been exposed to a cough or flu, you may pass this on when reusing a spoon to check your food.

Double-dipping chips or crackers to check the taste or consistency of dip for company also passes on germs. Only dip each chip or cracker one time into a dip. If you want more, spoon it out onto a plate.

Off the Floor
Never reuse utensils or other items used in food preparation or storage that have fallen onto the floor without first washing and rinsing them thoroughly. Dropped food needs to be washed as well.


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