Food workers are the heart of foodservice, but sick food workers can also pose the greatest threat to food safety. Here are some of the best ways to stay safe:

Make sure your managers and persons in charge…

  • Are trained to watch for the key symptoms and illnesses that can pose a threat.
  • Know what to do if there is a potential for foodborne illness.
  • Ensure that workers practice good hygiene at all times – even if they are feeling healthy.

Symptoms and illnesses to watch for

Each employee must be informed that they are required to report specific information about personal health conditions that can be spread through food to the person in charge including:

  • The date the employee first had symptoms.
  • Whether the employee had a medical diagnosis and what it was.
  • If they were potentially exposed to a foodborne illness

Ill food workers

There are two levels of action that are required for ill food workers.

Restriction is when workers are kept away from clean equipment and are not allowed to handle unpackaged food or items like clean utensils. They can still do other tasks like sweeping. Some symptoms that require restriction include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • An inflamed cut.

Exclusion is the more serious level that requires workers to be excluded from the food establishment. This is required if they have specific symptoms or a diagnosed illness. The symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomit
  • Jaundice

And the diagnosed illnesses that would require a worker to be excluded are:

  • Shigella
  • E. coli
  • Hepatitis A
  • Salmonella
  • Norovirus

If any of the diagnosed illnesses above, or if a worker shows signs of jaundice, is reported to the person in charge, they must also report this to the health department.

Food worker hygiene

There have been some changes to the food code surrounding food worker hygiene.

  • Jewelry with medical information is not allowed on your arm or hand.
  • Single-use gloves are now required to cover bandages on workers’ wrist, hand or finger.
  • Front of house staff are now allowed to restrain their hair without a hairnet.