02 – Personnel
02a- Personnel with Infections Restricted
It is absolutely critical that persons who are infected with any type of gastrointestinal (GI) illness are kept out of food handling activities. GI illness is any illness that would include vomiting or diarrhea. IN addition to the time when they are actually showing symptoms, people can also spread illness for several days after they are feeling better as the body sheds the bacteria or virus in the stool. Proper hand washing is very critical for people who have recently been affected by a GI illness so they do not spread it to others in a restaurant or any number of other common settings.
02b- Wounds Properly Covered
It is fairly common for people in a kitchen to find themselves with cuts and scrapes, especially on their hands from working with knives and other sharp utensils. When this happens it is important to keep the wound covered so it does not become infected and also so the wound does not touch foods that are being prepared in the kitchen. This is commonly done with food service gloves.
02c- Hands Washed As Needed
It would be difficult to cover every situation that requires hand washing but some of the most common ones seen in the kitchen are returning from the restroom, switching foods(especially products of animal origin), after sneezing or coughing, and between handling dirty and clean dishes in the dish washing area. A good rule of thumb is a hand sink should never be dry while the kitchen is in use.
02d- Hygienic Practices
This is another very wide topic that covers sanitary practices of kitchen employees. Poor hygienic practices are also a cause of many food borne illnesses in the home. Cloth towels, like that one you have hanging on the refrigerator door or oven handle can spread germs all over the kitchen. If you use that towel to wipe up a soiled countertop that wasn’t sanitized and then hang it back on the door to dry your hands off on later, you’ll be contaminating your hands or anything else that towel touches until you put it in the laundry. Instead use paper towels for hand wiping and clean up and save the towel for drying clean dishes. Other poor practices can include dirty fingernails, using a hand sink for preparing foods, or using a vegetable preparation sink for washing hands.
02e- Smoking, Eating, Drinking
This one is pretty straight forward. Smoking is not allowed in restaurant kitchens. Employees are allowed to have drinks but they need to have a lid and straw to avoid hand to mouth contact that could lead to the contamination of foods that are handled afterward. Eating is allowed as well but need to be done with a utensil that is then washed or thrown out to prevent contamination. These activities should also be followed with proper hand washing prior to the employee resuming food handling practices.
02f- Demonstration of Knowledge
Employees in the kitchen are required to know the food safety information that pertains to the activity that they are involved in. For example an employee working on the grill line should know the proper cook temperatures for meats and an employee preparing vegetables should be familiar with the use and location of the designated vegetable prep sink. If employees are not able to demonstrate that they are knowledgeable in these topic areas, a 02f would be marked on the inspection.
02g- Preventing Food Contamination from Bare Hands
This is a new regulation in the state of Colorado which began on March 1, 2007. The regulation prohibits the handling of ready to eat food with bare hands because any contamination on these foods is not subject to a kill step such as cooking. Because of this, the bacteria or virus in a ready to eat food would be served in a live and ready to infect form vs. a cooked food where the bacteria are subject to high temperatures that kill them and keep them from making people sick. Viruses, in particular one called Noro virus, have a very small infective dose or amount needed to cause someone to get sick. Even with proper hand washing there can be enough viruses left on the bare hands to cause illness. Because of this, gloves, utensils, papers or other means are required as an extra barrier for ready to eat foods to keep that infective dose off the customer’s plate. This is an important consideration in the home as well, especially if someone in the home has been sick. Often times, food borne illnesses that originate in a restaurant with one member of a family wind up infecting the rest of the household a few days later as a result of unsafe food handling practices in the home. This is referred to as secondary transmission.
Please contact Rachel Burmeister at 970-920-5075 with any food safety or restaurant related questions.