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Personal Hygiene Checklist
Drive-thrus and QSRs
Good personal hygiene helps ensure a safe and healthy work environment free from health hazards and helps prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses. On the other hand, lousy employee hygiene will potentially impact the employees’ and customers’ health and be detrimental to the reputation of the QSR establishment. Hence, employees should take utmost hygiene preventive measures during the food preparation and servicing time.
Aprons act as protective clothing to prevent food from contacting any substances or objects, dirt, dust, germs, etc. Also, it prevents clothes from getting stained. QSR employees should remember to tuck in loose clothing, and the apron should be appropriately fitted around the individual’s body.
Aprons are worn for the safety of an individual and to not contaminate the food preparation area. It serves as a precautionary measure in food preparation to maintain strict hygiene levels in the production area. It also provides a sense of functionality and facilitates a much safer and conducive space for food preparation.
Always remember to wear your apron before entering the cooking area. Wear a fresh apron every time before re-entering the production area to avoid external environmental contamination. Aprons will also keep your clothing from getting stains or spills. In addition, some industries provide disposable aprons that can be disposed of in a particular bin.
- a. Make sure the apron is worn correctly.
- b. Make sure the apron is clean.
- c. Enter the food preparation area with a clean apron.
- d. Correctly dispose of the apron.
- a. Reuse an apron without washing.
- b. Do not use a dirty apron.
- c. Do not use your apron for rubbing stained hands.
Inadequate handwashing can lead to germs and pathogens spreading to the food, which leads to contamination. If the food is contaminated, then it can cause foodborne diseases. Hence, QSR employees should wash hands for at least 20 seconds with an EPA or local governing bodies approved handwash.
The pandemic has made us adapt to this new rule of washing our hands for at least 20 seconds whenever we step out or touch a foreign object or person. As a result, it becomes even more critical for people dealing with food to prevent contamination and minimize airborne disease spread.
The CDC also recommends that individuals wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the toilet or when hands are visibly dirty, before eating, and after blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing. In addition, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, but only when soap and water are not readily available.
- a. The CDC recommends washing hands before, during, and after preparing food, especially meat and meat products, before and after eating, and after touching garbage.
- b. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- c. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Next, lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- d. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- e. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
f. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
- a. Provide handwashing stations based on the number of your employees and their placement
- b. Train the employees to properly wash their hands using the verification method recommended by CDC
- c. Keep handwashing/sanitization stations at areas where it is necessary to wash hands, such as close to garbage disposal area or near poultry products segregation.
- d. Ensure your handwash soap is of a decent standard and is approved for handwash compliance.
- e. Provide your employees with a clean cloth or paper towels to dry their hands.
- a. Do not ask your employees to rush into the handwashing.
- b. Do not forget to supervise time and again.
- c. Do not discourage your employees from using hand sanitizer in case handwashing is not possible.
Wearing gloves reduces the spread of disease and provides a strong shield against the remaining bacteria left behind on the skin post hand washing. If the gloves are disposable, they should be discarded after every use and not used multiple times.
Gloves have become a part of the post-pandemic world, especially at workplaces and industries like food and restaurant, retail, and health. Therefore, the CDC recommends using disposable gloves when cleaning, disinfecting, and cooking.
Recent studies have revealed foodborne diseases stem from cross-contamination, inadequate cooking temperatures of fresh food, and a lack of employee health and hygiene standards. The onslaught of Covid-19 has brought about many changes in how we maintain our hand hygiene routines. Contaminated hands can transfer bacteria and viruses, and other microorganisms by handling and preparing the food. Hence, it becomes imperative that QSR employees adopt better hand hygiene protocols such as wearing gloves. For effective glove compliance, replace gloves after every four hours, irrespective of their associated use.
- a. Always wear gloves while cooking.
- b. Wash your hands before and after wearing gloves.
- c. Change your gloves after touching raw poultry, seafood, or other types of meat.
- d. Replace gloves immediately if they encounter contamination, such as in the case of sneezing or coughing.
- e. After using disposable gloves, throw them out in a lined trash can.
- a. Do not wear gloves hastily.
- b. Do not use torn, damaged, or soiled gloves.
- c. Do not touch your face while wearing gloves.
d. Do not reuse disposable gloves.
Wearing a hairnet should be mandatory in a QSR irrespective of the hair length as it keeps hair from coming into contact with the food. A food that has hair makes it unpleasant for the customer to consume and can also cause contamination.
It is unpleasant to see hair in your food, and this feeling gets exaggerated when it is your favorite food from your favorite QSR, for which you have paid money. Hairnet usage by QSR staff and employees helps minimize the contamination in the customers’ food and is mandatory in the FDA’s 2013 food code.
All members working in QSR kitchens should wear hairnets without any exception. The hairnet should cover all hair and ears.
Open the hairnet and place it on your head, starting at the forehead, carefully stretching it back, and tucking it on the sides of your head and at the nape of the neck. Make sure no stray hairs are sticking out, and avoid stretching the hair net too wide, which can make it slip off your head.
- a. Provide your staff with hairnets and keep a stock in the kitchen of fresh new ones.
- b. Train your employees to properly use hairnets and encourage them to use them at all times.
- c. Supervise them time and again and give them reminders whenever required.
- d. Make sure ears are covered in the hairnet, and the net fits perfectly (neither too tight nor too loose).
- e. The employees in packaging and processing areas should also use hairnets.
- a. Do not dispose of your hairnet anywhere.
- b. Do not scratch your head or face after wearing the hairnet, as it defeats the hairnet’s purpose.
- c. Do not constantly touch your hairnet; it may lead to slipping off the hairnet.
Employees in QSR should ideally cover their beards with a beard net to prevent the food from being exposed to the hair. The event of exposure could lead to food contamination and will not be pleasant for the customer.
While we all enjoy and miss going out to get food from our favorite QSR, the very idea that there might be hair in our food is enough to repulse anyone. Even worse is when someone ends up ingesting those fallen hairs while eating the food. Hence, specific measures need to be adopted to prevent such a mishap from occurring.
Hold the beard snood with the closure sides, holding the elastic in one hand and the beard snood body in the other. Locate the elastic to the back of the head and make sure the beard snood covers the nose.
The FDA’s 2013 Food Code requires food employees to wear “hats, hair coverings or nets, beard restraints, and clothing that covers body hair” at work.
Hairnets and beard nets are essential for two reasons: they prevent hair from falling into food or making contact with clean utensils, surfaces, and equipment, and they stop you from touching or scratching your head/face and transferring bacteria.
- a. Beard nets should cover the hair and the ears.
- b. One should restrain all hair within the net.
- c. Give proper training to new employees and revise it regularly with your workforce to emphasize the importance of beard nets.
- a. Do not forget to supervise time and again to ensure the proper following of the rules.
- b. Do not dispose of your beard net anywhere.
- c. Do not scratch your beard or face after wearing the net, as it defeats the purpose of the beard net.
Hijab compliance helps in ensuring that hair does not interfere with food-related work. A hijab also protects employees from getting their long hair stuck in machinery and rotating equipment, thereby protecting them from grave accidents and injuries.