Sources of contamination from people

From people may come contamination by micro-organisms on their hands. Hairs, buttons and pieces of jewellery may fall off their bodies and clothes and articles may fall from pockets.

These hazards may occur from all people in the factory. Thus all staff and visitors should be made to wear a clean overall and head covering to enter the factory. They should also be made to remove jewellery and watches. All people entering the factory should be made to wash their hands even if they have only left the factory for a few minutes.

The most important requirement is that all those who handle, or are likely to handle food, should observe basic rules of personal hygiene. Disease is quickly spread if food handlers are negligent about hand-washing following visits to toilets. It is very unpleasant to have food contaminated with grease or other dirt from unwashed hands.

At all food premises good, clean washing facilities must be provided with continuous supplies of hot and cold water, non-scented soap and disposable towels. Cold water with no soap and communal towels are not adequate. Hand-washing sinks and facilities must be separate from those used to wash equipment.

Employers must provide clean overalls and hair coverings for all personnel. These are to be worn only in the food factory, they should not be worn to go shopping or to go home. No personal food, drink containers, loose money, pins, jewellery (other than plain wedding rings), watches, radios, books, newspapers and smoking tackle should be allowed into the production areas. Hair-brushing or combing necessitating removal of head gear should be forbidden in production areas. In this way the possibilities of contamination by loose articles is significantly reduced.

Smoking involves the hands becoming contaminated with saliva and the by-products, matches, ash and cigarette ends, are particularly repulsive. No smoking should ever be allowed in the production areas.

Operators who have cuts, abrasions or skin infections, particularly on the hands or arms, should be especially careful. Bandages or dressings should be of good quality and be, at least partly, brightly coloured and easily detectable should they be lost. In those premises where metal detectors are available for product scanning, it is additionally useful for the bandages to contain metal strips that will be automatically found should a bandage be lost into the product. At the factory there should be a nominated person responsible for putting dressings on production staff before they are allowed into the factory.

Food handlers suffering from intestinal complaints such as diarrhoea or other contagious diseases should be required to keep away from production areas until they recover.

It is frequently necessary for operators to carry certain small articles with them in the course of their duties.

Articles such as pens, pencils, gauges and various tools should not be carried in top pockets in case, while bending over, they should fall into the product or machines. Overalls provided with no top pockets remove this possibility!

Where gloves are needed either of fabric type (as for chocolate handling) or waterproof, they require regular washing and drying both inside and out. Gloves should not be shared by more than one person and they should be replaced when damaged.