Why do we teach personal and food hygiene?

Now please wash your hands

Most people practice basic food and personal hygiene many times a day without even thinking about it, whether at home or at work, including:

    • putting milk in the fridge after making a coffee,
    • using a separate chopping board for cutting up chicken for a stir fry,and
    • washing our hands before starting to make lunch

But there is a reason why we do these things, and it is very simple, to stop making ourselves or others ill. So if it is basic common sense then why do we need a training course to tell us how to do it if we work in a food business?


Hand washing can be a good or bad habit

It can be a difficult habit to change or break which is  why we need to teach people how to wash their hands properly.

It could be because they have never actually washed their hands properly and formed a bad habit. Maybe they were not taught how to as a child or why it is important to do it like this:

The coronavirus epidemic has thrown handwashing into the spotlight which can only help the ‘hand washing cause’ and improve personal hygiene. Now we are all washing our hands for 20 seconds whilst singing ‘Happy Birthday’ at every opportunity!

The UV light box

A few years ago when I first started doing food hygiene training I used a UV light box and asked learners to rub a cream into their hands, which represented bacteria, then asked them to wash their hands. The UV light showed any cream or ‘bacteria’ remaining on their hands which showed up as a fluorescent purple glow. Then I showed them the correct hand washing technique and re did the experiment, the results were enlightening as you can imagine.

The worrying thing is that this simple experiment demonstrated how only a tiny minority wash their hands if at all.

We have all heard about the peanuts on the bar story – ewwwww!

The Why?

The why? is also very important. Handwashing helps get rid of nasty bacteria on our hands so we don’t transfer it to another surface when we touch something else. I have also used a great training video which shows how, when preparing chicken the juices can easily be transferred by our hands, to lots of other surfaces in the kitchen. For example  the kettle handle, draw handles, light switches, the fridge door etc etc. making them potentially dangerous IF you don’t wash your hands.

The handwashing example can be applied to all other basic food hygiene practices including use by dates, best before dates, cooking food, cooling food, reheating food, labelling food etc. There is a reason why you need to follow manufacturers instructions, heat food until it is piping hot, reheat rice only once, cool food quickly and these basic principles are explained in a basic level food hygiene course.

Which level course is for me?


Level 1 is aimed at anyone who works in a food business, for example, serving drinks or a kitchen porter as although may not actually touch food they  still need to know the basics.

Level 2 is for anyone who prepares or serves food to help them understand the basics of food hygiene. This will help them get into good habits so it is something they just do without thinking about it, and helps to create a good safety culture. https://www.foodsafetylogic.co.uk/does-food-safety-culture-matter/#more-413

For staff with more responsibility for food hygiene the higher level courses teach staff how to manage food safety. Also they explain how  to make sure the controls are put in place and are being followed by staff. For example that temperatures are being checked and follow best practice guidance or legal limits https://www.foodsafetylogic.co.uk/getting-to-grips-with-temperature-checks/#more-524.

Level 3 courses are appropriate for managers or supervisors who manage food hygiene. They fully explain the need for checking and monitoring what staff are doing. Also what to do if things go wrong so it doesn’t happen again.

Level 4 courses are aimed at managers or people who want to train food hygiene themselves and are much more indepth and promote greater understanding of food safety.

Food and personal hygiene training is important whether you are a chef, waiting staff or a manager in a deli, restaurant, hospital or in factory and will help you to make safe food that won’t make your customers ill.



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