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Personal hygiene – why is it important?

Why is goof personal hygiene important? We explain the standards of personal hygiene and why this is important to keeping food safe.
Shower daily before work
© International Culinary Studio

Being involved in a service industry such as Tourism and Hospitality means that you can have a direct effect on the health and well being of customers and fellow staff members.

Would you buy food from someone who looks dirty and unkempt?

It is your duty to ensure that you do not put other people, or yourself, at risk of health problems.

  • Personal hygiene also portrays professionalism.
  • You have a legal and civil obligation to apply correct hygiene practices.

As a Hospitality employee it is extremely important to maintain high levels of personal hygiene, especially if you are working with food. Human bodies naturally harbour trillions of bacteria which are easily transferred to food as you work with it.

Why is Personal Hygiene and Health Important?

A key element of food safety are guidelines on personal hygiene, especially if you are working with food.

Good personal hygiene means you should:

  • Shower daily
  • Shave (if required) and wash your hair.
  • Do not touch your hair during work. Brush your hair prior to service but never in a food area! Tie back long hair or cover it with a hairnet or hat.
  • Do not wear makeup or jewellery in the kitchen.
  • Keep your nails short and clean, do not wear nail polish.
  • Cuts, abrasions, and open sores harbour bacteria and must be covered.

Bad habits include touching or scratching parts of your body as this transfers bacteria onto food when you touch the food. Other bad habits are eating or chewing while on-the-job, biting your nails and smoking. Ensure that you clean yourself and the work environment regularly.


If you are working, ask your workplace for their Personal Hygiene Checklist or Policy, if you are not working, look at the link below and read through this checklist. Would you add anything to this? Why?

Download the Hygiene Checklist Here

© International Culinary Studio
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Food Safety and Personal Hygiene in a Professional Kitchen

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