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NATIONAL REPORT — Within the overall classification of food safety "best practices," hand washing, hand care and glove usage are perhaps the three most critical routines for convenience store operators to keep top-of-mind.
Joe Bona, a member of the Convenience Store News How To Crew of foodservice experts and president of MoseleyBona Retail — a Franklin, Mass.-based retail consultant firm that has been creating experiential brand practices for more than 30 years — offers the following guidelines:
Hand washing is the most important part of personal hygiene. While it may seem so obvious that it needs no mentioning, many food handlers do not wash their hands the right way or as often as they should.
Food handlers with foodborne illnesses, such as norovirus gastroenteritis, can transfer the pathogen to food if they don’t wash their hands after using the restroom.
Foodservice employees should also wash their hands after:
- Handling raw meat, poultry and fish (before and after).
- Touching their hair, face or body.
- Sneezing, coughing or using a tissue.
- Eating, drinking, smoking, or chewing gum or tobacco.
- Handling chemicals that might affect food safety.
- Taking out garbage.
- Clearing tables or busing dirty dishes.
- Touching clothing.
- Touching anything else that may contaminate hands, such as dirty equipment, work surfaces or towels.
Keep fingernails short and clean. Long fingernails may be hard to keep clean. Do not wear false fingernails. They can be hard to keep clean as well. False fingernails also can break off into food. Some local regulatory authorities allow false nails if single-use gloves are worn.
Do not wear nail polish. It can disguise dirt under nails and may flake off into food. Some regulatory authorities allow polished nails if single-use gloves are worn.
Wear a bandage over wounds on hands and arms. Make sure the bandage keeps the wound from leaking. You must wear a single-use glove or finger cot (a finger cover) over bandages on hands or fingers. These will protect the bandage and keep it from falling off into food. It will also keep wounds that contain pathogens like staphylococcus aureus from contaminating food and causing illnesses.
Food handlers must change gloves at the following times:
- As soon as they become soiled or torn;
- Before beginning a different task;
- At least every four hours during continual use, and more often if necessary; and
- After handling raw meat and before handling ready-to-eat food.
Editor’s note: For our full report on "How to Keep Your Foodservice Operations Safe & Clean," look in the December issue of Convenience Store News. A digital edition can be accessed by clicking here.