Food Safety Practices Guidance for Ready-to-Eat Fresh-Cut Vegetable Manufacturers
Chapter 5: Personnel
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5.1 Hygiene and Health Requirements
5.1.1 Cleanliness and Conduct
All persons entering food handling areas maintain an appropriate degree of personal cleanliness and take the appropriate precautions to prevent the contamination of food.
- All persons wash and sanitize their hands upon entering food handling areas, before starting work, after handling contaminated materials (e.g., picking objects off the floor, handling garbage, cleaning chemicals or raw incoming materials), after breaks, and after using toilet facilities or blowing their nose. Where necessary to minimize microbiological contamination, employees use disinfectant hand dips.
- Disposable gloves are changed whenever contamination is a possibility.
- Protective clothing, hair covering, footwear and/or gloves, appropriate to the operation in which the employee is engaged, are worn and maintained in a sanitary manner.
- Behaviour which could result in contamination of food (e.g., eating, use of tobacco or chewing gum, unhygienic practices like spitting) is not conducted in food handling areas.
- All persons entering food handling areas remove jewellery and other objects which may fall into or otherwise contaminate food. Jewellery which cannot be removed (wedding bands, medical alerts bracelets, etc.) is secured and covered.
- Personal effects and street clothing are not kept in food handling areas and are stored in such a manner as to prevent contamination.
- The access of personnel and visitors is controlled to prevent contamination. The traffic pattern of employees prevents cross-contamination of the product (e.g., the employees avoid going back and forth to various stages of production. The employees do not go from a potentially contaminated area to the packaging area unless they have washed their hands and changed to clean, protective clothing).
- The responsibility for ensuring that all employees comply with the requirement of this section is specifically allocated to competent supervisory personnel.
5.1.2 Communicable Diseases and Injuries
No person who is known to be infected with a disease likely to be transmitted through food, or who has open cuts or wounds, is permitted to work in food handling areas where there is a likelihood of the person directly or indirectly contaminating the food.
- The manufacturer has and enforces a policy to prevent personnel from working in food handling areas if they are known to be suffering from a disease or are known to be carriers of a disease transmissible through food.
- The manufacturer requires that employees advise management when they are suffering from a communicable disease likely to be transmitted through food. Conditions which are to be reported include:
- sore throat with fever; and,
- discharges from the ear, eye or nose.
- Employees having open cuts or wounds do not handle food or food contact surfaces unless the injury is completely protected by a secure waterproof covering (e.g., rubber gloves).
5.2.1 General Food Hygiene Training
Food handlers are trained in personal hygiene and the hygienic handling of food. They understand the precautions necessary to prevent the contamination of RTE fresh-cut vegetables.
- The manufacturer has a written training program for employees and maintains appropriate records.
- Appropriate training in personal hygiene and the hygienic handling of food is provided to all food handlers at the beginning of their employment.
- Food hygiene training is reinforced and updated at appropriate intervals and each time a food handler changes duties.
5.2.2 Technical Training
To ensure food safety, personnel are trained such that they have adequate technical knowledge and understanding of the operation(s) or process(es) for which they are responsible.
The training is appropriate to the complexity of the manufacturing process and the tasks assigned. The manufacturer has a written training program for employees and maintains appropriate records. Examples are listed below.
- Personnel are trained to understand: the importance of the critical factors for which they are responsible; the critical limits and/or company standards; the procedures for monitoring; the action to be taken if the limits or standards are not met; and, the records to be kept.
- Personnel and supervisors are trained to have adequate technical knowledge and understanding of the operations or processes for which they are responsible.
- The managers and supervisors for RTE fresh-cut vegetable manufacturing have the necessary knowledge of food hygiene principles and practices to be able to judge potential risks and take the necessary action to remedy deficiencies.
- All employees, including those in maintenance and customer service, are trained to implement allergen controls.
- Personnel responsible for the maintenance of equipment that may have an impact on food safety have been appropriately trained to identify deficiencies that could affect product safety and to take the appropriate corrective action (e.g., in house repairs, contract repairs). Individuals performing maintenance on specific equipment are appropriately trained.
- Personnel and supervisors responsible for the sanitation program are appropriately trained to understand the principles and methods required for effective cleaning and sanitizing.
- Personnel and supervisors responsible for water treatment and water safety monitoring are appropriately trained to understand the principles and methods and are competent in applying procedures designed to protect the safety of food.
- Personnel who handle potentially hazardous chemicals are instructed in safe handling and disposal techniques.
- Additional training is provided to personnel, as necessary, to keep their knowledge of equipment and processing technology current.
- Periodic assessments of the effectiveness of training and instruction programs are made as well as routine supervision and checks to ensure that procedures are being carried out effectively.
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