Preparing food can be relaxing and entertaining. Yet, while there can be an informal air in the kitchen while someone is cooking, certain rules must be followed when handling food. Practicing good personal hygiene during food preparation helps to keep both the cook and the people who eat the meal healthy and safe.
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A person working with food must be scrupulous about keeping hands clean. Hands are a main source of contamination, due to the fact that a person's hands touch different ingredients and utensils, as well as eyes, nose and mouth. Keep fingernails short. Scrub hands with an antibacterial soap for approximately 20 seconds, by building up a soapy lather, and scrubbing hands from fingertips to elbows. Clean any cuts or nicks with antibacterial soap or hydrogen peroxide. Cover the cut or nick with a clean bandage, and wear surgical gloves. Do not wear excessive jewellery on hands and wrists.
Keep short hair tidy and pull long hair back off of the face. Wear a hair net or bandanna to keep strands of hair from falling into the food. Heavily perfumed hair products are not recommended, and never style hair in a food preparation area. Earrings must be small and light.
Never prepare food while physically sick. Germs can be easily transferred from the food preparer to the person who eats the food. If working in an establishment, call in sick. If at home, ask a family member or friend to prepare the food. Wearing a mouth mask is recommended and often mandatory during food prep, even if a person is healthy.
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