|It is important to realize in food safety that
handwashing not only protects the consumer but protects the food worker
as well. As a former food safety coordinator at a local hotel/ casino in
Northern Nevada I was notorious for reminding employees to wash their
hands. After a period of time, several of the employees approached me
and let me know that they actually were washing their hands more often
and had noticed that they had not gotten ill as often as before they
washed their hands more frequently. Motivating people to make behavioral
changes is challenging but as I discovered we are motivated more often
it seems if the change we make can benefit us
The FDA recommends Standard Operating Procedures as an important part of
any Food Safety Program in Retail Food Operations. When creating a
Standard Operating Procedures you should follow: Why, Who, When, How,
Optional Records, Correction or Corrective Action and PIC (Person in
There is an increasing emphasis on creating barriers between our hands
and ready to eat foods. This is due to the increased reports of Viral
Outbreaks including Noro-Virus (Norwalk) and Hepatitis A. These carriers
include the use of single use gloves. It is important to remember that
gloves must be used properly to be effective as barriers. They should be
vinyl not latex and we need to wash our hands every time before we put
on a new pair. We also need to remember to change gloves between tasks.
Although gloves are not required in most districts they are perceived as
safer by a lot of consumers.
An awareness on monitoring employee illnesses associated with
“gastro-intestinal” symptoms is also increasing among foodservice
operators. Noro-Virus is extremely contagious and continues to plague
the industry with over half of the outbreaks reported recently pointing
to this virus. We must be creative and find ways to make sure that food
handlers with these symptoms are not handling food.
Conduct regular self- inspections on a continuous basis. Observe your
employees to make sure they are practicing good personal hygiene (handwashing).
If it isn’t documented it didn’t happen! Simple records of
Self-inspections, Temperature Checks, Cooling Studies, Receiving Logs
and even handwashing verification are a good idea and you may be asked
for these records sometime by a regulator.
We are all “stakeholders” in food safety as we must maintain
consumer confidence in our products and services.
I want to convey to all my appreciation and respect for all the hard
work and talent required to be successful in the food industry. It is my
goal to continue what I believe to be a valuable service to the
Please remember: WASH YOUR HANDS!
Why: Unclean hands can transfer bacteria and viruses to
food, and cross-contaminate foods and food contact surfaces.
Who: All food workers.
When: Food handlers must wash their hands:
.. Before starting work
.. Before putting on or changing gloves
.. After using the restroom, (use the restroom sink)
.. After touching the hair, face or body
.. After eating, drinking, smoking or touching chewing gum
.. Upon entering a food prep area
.. After cleaning or taking out the garbage
.. After touching anything that contaminates the hands
.. After using chemicals
Only at the designated handwashing or restroom sink.
1. Use warm water (greater than 100 degrees F less than 120 degrees
2. Wet hands and exposed arms up to the elbow.
3. Apply hand soap.
4. Rub hands and forearms vigorously for 20 seconds.
5. Clean under fingernails.
6. Rinse under warm water.
7. Towel dry with disposable towels.
8. Be careful not to re-contaminate hands on faucets or
paper towel dispenser.
o Observe employee handwashing practices and instruct them to rewash
their hands if not washed properly.
o Retrain employee in proper handwashing procedures.
Person In Charge Verification:
.. Soap and Paper towels are available.
.. Sinks are accessible and conveniently located.
.. Water temperature and pressure are adequate.
.. Employees are following this SOP.
.. Handwashing signs are posted demonstrating proper
As owner/operator and instructor for Sierra Foodservice Sanitation John
has been providing services for over fourteen years in the Nevada and
California area. Services include Food Protection Manager Certification,
Food Safety Audits and Consulting. John has over thirty years in food
and beverage experience including over twenty years in management. He
has worked and supervised buffets, coffee shops, fine dining, banquets,
health care facilities and central kitchens. For 10 years he has been a
Certified Instructor for Washoe County in Food Safety. He has certified
over 700 students using ServSafe (NRAEF) training. John holds
certifications including HACCP Retail and Manufacturing and Food
Protection Manager Instructor. John also attends FDA seminars and
classes as well as being a member of the State of Nevada Food Safety
Task Force. For class schedules/locations
or information about our consulting services or audits contact John at:
Office: 775-322-0171 Cell: 775-232-9482