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This module on personal hygiene is part of the Food Safety Knowledge Network's Basic Level resources for food manufacturers. This module was authored by Kevin Swoffer.


Welcome to Introduction to Personal Hygiene .

This learning module is part of the Food Safety Knowledge Network Basic Level Program.

The Basic Level and Intermediate Level Programs were developed through a partnership between the Global Food Safety Initiative and Michigan State University to enhance the technical knowledge of individuals responsible for food safety, especially those working for small or less-developed businesses.

To learn more about the Food Safety Knowledge Network, please visit www.foodsafetyknowledgenetwork.org .

Module overview

A high standard of personal hygiene is essential, especially where open food is prepared or processed. Many potential physical contaminates such as hair or microbiological contaminates such as bacteria arise from direct contact with the person handling food during the preparation, storage, or distribution phase.

This Basic Level learning module covers the requirements for effective control and management of personal hygiene.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • system development
  • hand-washing
  • personal cleanliness
  • illness
  • personal behavior
  • visitor procedures.

Module objectives

Upon completion of this module you should be able to

  • instruct an individual on the principles of and reasons for good personal hygiene
  • provide specific knowledge about good personal hygiene practices
  • know the importance of developing and managing systems for good personal hygiene
  • identify a system for reporting illness.

System development

As the person responsible for food safety within the factory it is important to develop a system to ensure and monitor that the staff is fully aware of and uses

  • good personal cleanliness practices
  • good personal behavior practices
  • reporting processes for possible illnesses.

Any system will have to be clearly and concisely documented and communicated in detail to appropriate staff within the company. You must work closely with key company staff to ensure that they clearly understand the importance of such systems and how they can influence and achieve compliance.

Since the responsibility for food safety rests with you, direct verification of systems is extremely important for Basic Level requirements. You should personally and frequently monitor activities on a regular basis and record your findings.


It is widely recognized that hands are a potential source of microbiological and chemical contamination. Food handlers, if poorly trained and managed, pose possibly the greatest risk of microbiological contamination; in short, they may unwittingly poison foods and thus consumers.

Frequent hand-washing and good personal hygiene practices will significantly minimize the risk of product contamination. You must establish and maintain a system that ensures food-handlers wash their hands

  • upon entering a food handling or processing area
  • immediately after using the toilet
  • after handling raw food or any contaminated material which could result in contamination of other food items
  • after using a handkerchief
  • after eating, drinking, or smoking
  • after handling equipment cleaning machines or equipment cleaning utensils.

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Source:  OpenStax, Food safety knowledge network basic level requirements. OpenStax CNX. Dec 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11142/1.4
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