Question: My staff needs a refresher course in hand hygiene. Can you help?
Answer: Absolutely! Let’s start with the criteria from the 2005 FDA Food Code
Chapter 2 – Part 3 – This is the final issue on hand hygiene. If we’ve not answered your questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Fingernails 2-302.11 Maintenance.
The requirement for fingernails to be trimmed, filed, and maintained is designed to address both the cleanability of areas beneath the fingernails and the possibility that fingernails or pieces of the fingernails may end up in the food due to breakage. Failure to remove fecal material from beneath the fingernails after defecation can be a major source of pathogenic organisms. Ragged fingernails present cleanability concerns and may harbor pathogenic organisms.
(A) Food employeesshall keep their fingernails trimmed, filed, and maintained so the edges and surfaces are cleanable and not rough.
(B) Unless wearing intact gloves in good repair, a food employeemay not wear fingernail polish or artificial fingernails when working with exposed food.
Jewelry 2-303.11 Prohibition.
Items of jewelry such as rings, bracelets, and watches may collect soil and theconstruction of the jewelry may hinder routine cleaning. As a result, the jewelry may ct as a reservoir of pathogenic organisms transmissible through food.
The term “jewelry” generally refers to the ornaments worn for personal adornment and medical alert bracelets do not fit this definition. However, the wearing of such bracelets carries the same potential for transmitting disease-causing organisms to food. If a food worker wears a medical alert or medical information bracelet, the conflict between this need and the Food Code’s requirements can be resolved through reasonable accommodation in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The person in charge should discuss the Food Code requirement with the employee and together they can work out an acceptable alternative to a bracelet. For example, the medical alert information could be worn in the form of a necklace or anklet to provide the necessary medical information without posing a risk to food. Alternatives to medical alert bracelets are available through a number of different companies (e.g., an internet search using the term “medical alert jewelry” leads to numerous suppliers).
An additional hazard associated with jewelry is the possibility that pieces of the item or the whole item itself may fall into the food being prepared. Hard foreign objects in food may cause medical problems for consumers, such as chipped and/or broken teeth and internal cuts and lesions.
Except for a plain ring such as a wedding band, while preparing food, food employees may not wear jewelry including medical information jewelry on their arms and hands.
Outer Clothing 2-304.11 Clean Condition.
Dirty clothing may harbor diseases that are transmissible through food. Food employees who inadvertently touch their dirty clothing may contaminate their hands. This could result in contamination of the food being prepared. Food may also be contaminated through direct contact with dirty clothing. In addition, employees wearing dirty clothes send a negative message to consumers about the level of sanitation in the establishment.
(A) Food employees shall keep their fingernails trimmed, filed, and maintained so the edges and surfaces are cleanable and not rough.
(B) Unless wearing intact gloves in good repair, a food employee may not wear fingernail polish or artificial fingernails when working with exposed food. Food employeesshall wear clean outer clothing to prevent contamination of food, equipment, utensils, linens and single-service and single-use articles.
So long for now...
Doris Rittenmeyer, CFSP
Director – Safety Management Services