Personal hygiene for food handlers

Food handlers

Food Handlers have legal responsibilities

According to Food Safety Standard 3.2.2 Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, a food handler is legally required to ensure their own personal hygiene practices and cleanliness must minimise the risk of food contamination. CTA delivers a nationally recognised training course called SITXFSA001 Use Hygiene Practices for Food Safety which teaches food handlers their responsibilities according to the law. This post below outlines some of the elements you will learn during your online course.


So what exactly is a food handler?

A food handler is anyone who works in a food business and handles food, or surfaces that come into contact with food. Apart from cooking, food handlers perform many different functions in a food business such as preparing, packing, displaying or storing food. Food handlers may also be involved in the manufacture or transport of food.


What are the standards of personal hygiene?

Food Handlers must ensure that they:

  • prevent their body and clothes from coming into contact with food or food contact surfaces
  • stop unnecessary contact with ready-to-eat foods, such as salads or cooked meat
  • wear clean outer clothing, appropriate for the type of work they do
  • make sure bandages or dressings on any exposed parts of the body are covered with a waterproof covering
  • don’t eat over unprotected food or surfaces that might come into contact with food
  • don’t sneeze or cough over unprotected food or surfaces that come into contact with food
  • don’t smoke where food is handled
  • use a toilet to urinate or defecate


Food Handlers must report health issues

If you are a food handler you must notify your Food Safety Supervisor when you are ill with vomiting, diarrhoea, have a fever or jaundice, are suffering from a food-borne disease, have a sore throat with fever, infected skin lesions or have discharges from your eyes, nose or ears. You are not allowed to handle food if affected.


Food washer must wash their hands

As a food handlers you must wash their hands whenever your hands are likely to contaminate food. Mandatory times to wash your hands include:-

  • immediately before working with ready-to-eat food;
  • immediately after handling raw meat or processed (or cut) fruit or vegetables
  • immediately after using the toilet

Make sure you use the hand washing facilities provided by the business. In particular sinks used to prepare food or wash dishes, must not be used to wash your hands.


Need some more information about personal hygiene for food handlers?

The CTA SITXFSA001 Use Hygiene Practices for Food Safety online training course is a great way to ensure that you meet your legal responsibilities when working with food.