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Houston Department of Health and Human Services > Food Inspection and Safety (Consumer Health) > Food Safety Tips > Safe Health Practices for New Employees

Safe Health Practices for New Employees - Ten Commandments

You've just hired new employees at your food establishment for the summer; these are people you need because summer is here and business is booming due to extra customers. What is the first thing you teach these new employees, besides how to fill out that W-2 form and where to purchase that employee uniform?

For starters, teach them to wash their hands properly in sinks made for that purpose. That is probably the best piece of advice to give anyone in the food service industry.

Handwashing is the first of the ten commandments of safe food handling. Think back -- how many of these cardinal sins have been committed in your food service establishment?

  • Thou shall not use wiping cloths to remove perspiration;
  • Thou shall not spit on the floor or in any sinks in the kitchen;
  • Thou shall not cough nor sneeze in any food preparation area;
  • Thou shall not stack plates of food in order to carry more at one time;
  • Thou shall not pick up any foodstuffs (bread, butter, ice etc.) with bare hands;
  • Thou shall not handle any silverware or foods after wiping tables or bussing dishes;
  • Thou shall not touch the food-contact surface of tableware (insides of glasses, cups, bowls etc.) with bare hands;
  • Thou shall not taste food repeatedly with your finger or the same spoon over and over again;
  • Thou shall not leave food uncovered for long periods of time.

And finally, let us all remember the Golden Rule of Safe Food Handling: "Hands that have touched contamination must never touch food without prior and proper hand washing." If these rules were kept faithfully, just imagine how better off your food establishment, employees and customers would be!

For this and any other food safety related information, please contact the Houston Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Consumer Health Services at 713-794-9200.

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