September 01
Welcome to National Food Safety Month 2020. Throughout the month of September, we will celebrate 30 years of food safety from ServSafe by giving you 30 tips to help you manage risk in your restaurant. Week 1 -- sponsored by Tork®, an Essity brand -- is focused on Personal Hygiene.

You can contaminate food at every step in the food handling process, and you might not even realize it when you do it. Something as simple as touching your face and then touching food could make a guest sick. Even if you appear to be healthy, you could spread foodborne pathogens.
Follow these tips to prevent spreading foodborne pathogens.
Tip 1: Tell a manager when you’re sick. Vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice—a yellowing of your skin or eyes—are symptoms that you should be aware of:
  • These symptoms could mean you have a foodborne illness.
  • You may be asked to stay home if you have these symptoms
Tip 2: Washing your hands properly is the most important way to prevent foodborne illness:
  • Do it the right way:
    • Wet your hands and arms under warm running water.
    • Apply enough soap to build up a good lather.
    • Scrub your hands and arms vigorously for 10-15 seconds and at least 20 seconds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Rinse your hands and arms under warm running water.
    • Dry your hands and arms with a single-use paper towel or hand dryer
  • It is necessary to wash your hands in the following situations:
    • Before preparing food or working with clean utensils and equipment
  • It is necessary to wash your hands after the following activities:
    • Using the restroom
    • Touching your body or clothing
    • Coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, or using a handkerchief or tissue
    • Eating, drinking, smoking, or chewing gum or tobacco
    • Handling soiled utensils
    • Handling raw meat, seafood, or poultry
    • Taking out the garbage
    • Handling service or aquatic animals
    • Handling chemicals
    • Changing tasks (before beginning a new task)
    • Leaving and returning to the kitchen/prep area
    • Handling money
    • Using electronic devices
    • Touching anything else that may contaminate hands
Tip 3: Don’t touch food that’s ready-to-eat with your bare hands. It can become contaminated when handled with bare hands:
  • Always wear single-use gloves when handling ready-to-eat food
  • Use them the right way to prevent contamination:
    • Wash your hands before putting them on
    • Change them when necessary:
      • As soon as they become dirty or torn
      • Before beginning a different task
      • After an interruption
      • After handling raw meat, seafood, or poultry and before handling ready-to-eat food
      • After 4 hours of continuous use
    • As an alternative, you can handle food with spatulas, tongs, deli sheets or other utensils
Tip 4: Only eat, drink, smoke, and chew gum or tobacco in designated areas. These activities can transfer droplets of saliva—which can contain thousands of pathogens—to hands, or directly to food:
  • Never do these things when:
    • Prepping or serving food
    • Working in prep areas
    • Working in areas used to clean utensils and equipment
  • You may be able to drink from a correctly covered container, including a lid with a straw, or a sip-lid top
Tip 5: Wear the right clothing when handling food:
  • Restrain your hair correctly. Your hair and scalp may contain pathogens that can cause foodborne illness
  • Wear a clean hat or other hair restraint when in food prep areas. This keeps hair off surfaces and out of food. It also stops you from touching your hair while handling food
  • Wear a beard restraint if you have a beard
  • Wear clean clothing. Dirty clothing may carry pathogens, which can be transferred to your hands and then to the food you’re handling
  • Remove jewelry from your hands and arms
    • That includes watches, bracelets, and rings— except for a plain band
  • Remove your apron when leaving prep areas
    • Never wear your apron into the restroom
    • Never wipe your hands on your apron
Tip 6: Take care of your hands:
  • Cover wounds correctly. Cover wounds on your hand, finger, or wrist this way:
    • Cover it with an impermeable cover like a finger cot or bandage.
    • Then place a single-use glove over the cover
    • Impermeable just means that liquid from the wound can’t pass through the cover
  • Keep your fingernails short:
    • Long fingernails and false nails are hard to keep clean. They can also break off into food.
    • Don’t wear nail polish. Nail polish can disguise dirt under your nails and can flake off into food

Personal Hygiene Practices to Follow:

  1. Stay home if you are sick
  2. Wash your hands properly
  3. Don’t touch food with bare hands
  4. Smoke and drink only in designated areas
  5. Wear proper clothing
  6. Take care of your hands
To extend your Food Safety Month experience, visit our resources page to download posters, activity sheets, and more here!