As a person employed in a food-processing business, you are obliged to meet and maintain a high level of hygiene. Information on this topic is provided here.
A high level of personal cleanliness is a prerequisite for all persons working with food. This includes regular washing and showering.
Many millions of microorganisms accumulate on hands, under fingernails and under rings. The more microorganisms, the higher the probability that pathogens will be present and transferred to foodstuffs on contact. It is therefore important that you adopt good hand hygiene practices.
Observe the following points:
Wash and disinfect your hands (click here to download instructions):
Only use suitable products for cleaning and disinfecting your hands, and adhere to the application times specified by the manufacturer (usually 30 seconds).
Only use disposable towels, e.g. paper towels, for drying your hands.
Cover any small cuts and wounds with a coloured plaster and a finger cot or disposable glove. This prevents any transfer of the wound bacteria to the foodstuffs.
When handling food, you should not wear jewellery or wristwatches. This includes wedding rings and bracelets. Put them in a safe place before starting work.
If you wear jewellery, it is not possible to clean and disinfect your hands properly, so there is a risk of contamination.
Keep your fingernails short and clean, do not wear nail varnish or artificial nails. As dirt can accumulate more easily under long fingernails than under short ones, long fingernails are not suitable. Nail varnish and artificial fingernails may chip. Contamination such as this is difficult to detect.
Before going to the toilet, hang any aprons and other easily removable work wear on the specially provided hooks. Close the lid of the toilet before flushing it, to prevent any contamination from spray. Then thoroughly wash and disinfect your hands, and only use disposable towels to dry your hands. Unwashed hands may spread faecal bacteria to any surfaces, equipment and products touched.
You should not wear any street clothing or outdoor footwear in the food preparation rooms and at the service counters. The work and protective clothing must always be kept clean, and be regularly changed and washed (boil wash). If you are responsible for washing your own work clothing, you should follow the establishment's instructions. Care should also be taken to transport freshly washed work and protective clothing in a hygienic and safe way. Alternatively, an external firm may be contracted to wash the clothing.
Do not wipe dirty hands on your work clothing.
Do not wear any visible jewellery if you are working with food. It is recommended that wedding rings are also removed.
Visible piercings, such as nose rings, can be covered with a suitable plaster or must be removed for the duration of your working hours.
If you wear jewellery, it is not possible to clean and disinfect your hands properly, so there is a risk of contamination. There is also a risk of jewellery breaking or coming off, and becoming a foreign body hazard in the food.
The ban on smoking in areas in which food is handled must be observed. Only take your meals and drinks in the staff rooms or social rooms.
Only smoke in the specially designated rooms, and then wash and disinfect your hands before resuming your activities.
Do not sneeze or cough over food. Do not place any ornamental plants in areas in which food is handled. It is prohibited to have pets in food-processing businesses.
Avoid wearing heavy make-up if you are working with food, as cosmetics may also be a contamination hazard.
Every food business operator is required to ensure that all their employees who handle food are adequately trained.
The requisite training is generally divided into 3 areas:
Training is intended to ensure that all employees in the establishment have sufficient knowledge and awareness of the topic of hygiene. In addition to instructions on handling new machines, for example, or the correct way to clean it is important for you all to have the same level of knowledge, as this translates into good hygienic practices.
Apart from giving practical benefits, courses on hygiene and training under the German Law on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (IfSG) are mandatory.
When producing, processing or selling perishable foods, employees need to attend additional training so that they acquire the necessary specialist knowledge, for example special hygiene requirements or rules for the processing of perishable food.
In your role as responsible person within your business, it is recommended that you monitor the implementation of the training content in your business. In this way, you can ensure that the content has been understood. For example, watch how your employees handle cleaning materials, etc. Training only makes sense if the content is understood and put into practice.
Training is generally divided into:
All employees in establishments that handle food or may come in contact with food have to be given training.
Hygiene training courses are intended to ensure that you keep familiarising your employees with the fundamental rules, so that good hygienic practices are observed at the workplace. A basic component of hygiene training is personal hygiene. Further components include hygiene at the workplace and production hygiene, and the in-house auto-control system.
In accordance with the German Law on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases - IfSG, you must be familiar with the obligation to notify the authorities of the following infections and the corresponding prohibition from food-service activities and employment:
The following symptoms may indicate such infections and must therefore be reported:
NB: If you visit the doctor due to illness, you must inform them that you work in a food business.