Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

Restaurant Inspection Database

Violation Explanation

Official Report Wording, Item #12

Employee Practices:

1. Hands washed as needed. (20 pts.)

2. Good hygienic practices, no common towels. (15 pts.)

3. Smoking, eating, drinking. (5 pts.)

4. Demonstration of knowledge/training needed. (10 pts.)

5. Ready-to-eat food protected from bare hand contact. (20 pts.)

PUBLIC HEALTH REASON

1. The hands play a critical role in the transmission of disease-causing microorganisms. Food employees with dirty hands and/or fingernails may contaminate the food being prepared. Therefore, any activity which may contaminate the hands must be followed by thorough handwashing. Even seemingly healthy food service workers may serve as reservoirs for disease-causing microorganisms that are transmissible through food. Staphylococci bacteria, for example, can be found on the skin and in the mouth, throat, and nose of many healthy food service workers. Food service workers can pass this bacterium on to customers through food by touching these areas with their hands.

Hand washing is a critical factor in controlling disease-causing microorganisms associated with toileting activities as well as other microorganisms that can be transmitted via cross contamination from raw animal foods

Friction, soap and water have been found to play the most important role in effective hand washing. Effective hand washing must include warm water, scrubbing with soap, rinsing with clean water and drying the hands.

  • The following are examples of situations when hands must be washed:
  • Before leaving the restroom and upon returning to food handling, beverage preparation and warewashing after restroom use.
  • When switching between working with raw meat, fish, poultry and other animal foods and working with ready-to-eat foods.
  • After coughing or sneezing.
  • After smoking, eating or drinking.
  • After touching head, hair, mouth, cuts, burns or other sores.
  • Before putting on food handlers gloves.
  • After handling dirty dishes, utensils and equipment.
  • After handling money.
2. Good hygienic practices must be followed by all food service workers to prevent the introduction of contaminants and the transmission of disease through food. Workers must wash their hands at provided handwashing only, and not in sinks used for food preparation and warewashing. Finger nails of workers that conduct food preparation must be kept trimmed and clean. Unsanitary personal practices such as scratching the head, placing the fingers in or around the mouth or nose, and uncovered sneezing or coughing, may result in food contamination. Common towels used over and over again become contaminated which in turn contaminates workers’ hands. Food service workers need to dry and wipe hands on paper towels and not use common cloth towels or aprons to wipe or dry their hands.

3. The use of tobacco products or eating during food preparation is prohibited. The hand to mouth contact that occurs during these activities results in the contamination of workers’ hands and food. Food service workers are allowed to consume beverages during food preparation. Employee beverage containers are to be closed and stored in an area where they can not contaminate food, utensils and preparation areas.

4. The establishment’s management must be knowledgeable about foodborne disease prevention and the regulatory requirements. Food service workers must have a basic understanding of food safety as it relates to their job or task they are performing. Examples of demonstration of knowledge include: dishwashers must know how the dishmachine they operate sanitizes and when they should be washing their hands; cooks that reheat foods must know the temperature requirements for reheating foods; and employees who are required to cool foods must know what the temperature requirements are for cooling. The more knowledgeable the establishment’s staff are, the safer the food handling practices in the establishment.

5. Most foodborne illnesses reported in the United States are caused by fecal-oral microorganisms such as Norovirus. These disease-causing microorganisms are easily transmitted from food handlers to ready-to-eat foods such as salads, deli meats and cheeses, and ice. A key control in preventing these foodborne illness outbreaks is preventing bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. Gloves are one of the barriers recommended to prevent bare hand contact, but are not required to be worn by all food service workers. Using other barriers such as utensils, tongs or deli tissues, can also prevent bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.

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Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.