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COVID-19: What can food handlers do?

Explains what a food handler can do to reduce the possibility of cross contamination of food.
© International Culinary Studio

It is possible for infected food handlers to introduce viruses to the food they are in contact with by coughing and sneezing, or through hand contact.

This is unlikely to occur if food handlers both in business and at home follow good standards and good personal hygiene practices that reduce the risk of transmission of most foodborne illnesses.

These practices include:

  • proper hand hygiene
  • safe food practices
  • cough/cold hygiene practices
  • avoiding close contact, when possible, with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Food handlers must wash hands (even if they have no disease symptoms):

  • before starting work
  • before handling cooked or ready-to-eat food
  • after handling or preparing raw food
  • after handling waste
  • after cleaning duties
  • after using the toilet
  • after blowing their nose, sneezing, or coughing
  • after eating, drinking, or smoking
  • after handling money.

Good hygiene and cleaning will also prevent cross-contamination between raw or undercooked foods and cooked or ready-to-eat foods in the kitchen or service area.

It is important that food handlers inform their employer that they are ill, avoid preparing food for other people, and seek medical advice if they think they have symptoms of respiratory illness.

Employers may ask staff to stay home until after medical advice is given.

If staff have been overseas to affected regions or in contact with persons who have, they should inform their employer and seek appropriate medical advice.

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

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