• Lesson 3: Your Sanitation Toolkit

    This simple page of instructions concerning personal hygiene can be posted on the employee bulletin board or used as a handout with paychecks on a regular basis.

    • Have physical and dental examinations at least once a year.
    • Take a bath or shower daily.
    • Use deodorants but refrain from perfumes and colognes, which can conflict with aromas from the food.
    • Keep hair clean, neat, and under control.
    • Wear clean, suitable clothing at all times.
    • Wash hands frequently with germicidal soap and hot water before starting work, after using the toilet, after smoking, and before preparing food.
    • Keep fingernails clean.
    • Always keep clean rubberized finger bandages on cuts or sores. Rubber finger cots are particularly effective in guarding finger cuts.
    • Avoid touching the scalp, face, eyes, and arms.
    • Never use a serviette to wipe the face or arms.
    • Do not wear jewelry or hair ornaments that may drop into food.
    • To prevent pencils and pens from falling into food when bending over, keep them in pockets below waist level. Never put pencils and pens in the mouth or behind the ears.
    • Never smoke, spit, or chew gum on the job.
    • Cover the face with your elbow when sneezing or coughing, then wash hands.
    • Always use an ice scoop for handling ice cubes, being careful to keep the handle out of the ice.
    • Make use of a first-aid kit immediately after an accidental cut or burn.
    • Stay at home if ill. Colds can be passed on to fellow employees or customers by breathing on utensils.
    • Use a clean fork or spoon every time you taste food. To taste a liquid, ladle a small amount into a dish or saucer before tasting.
    • Make certain that all equipment and utensils are clean and ready for use.
    • Use only clean and sanitary hand towels.
    • Keep your fingers at the edge of the plate when serving.
    • Always carry clean tableware on a tray or plate, covered with a clean napkin.
    • Always handle flatware and glassware by the handle, base, or stem.
    • Never reuse perishable items such as cream, butter, or bread from a bussed table. They could have been contaminated. The exception may be individually wrapped coffee creamers or butter that has been kept on ice.
    • Never touch food with the bare hands unless it is going to be cooked or reheated. Bread, butter, and fruit garnishes should be handled with utensils or plastic-gloved hands.


    The Education Foundation of the National Restaurant Association offers a training program in sanitation called ServeSafe. This program of certification is used by many foodservice professionals and is recognized by most local health authorities. In some localities, it is mandatory to have at least one kitchen employee with this certification. The program is useful for front-of-the-house personnel also. More information at

    Downloadable Handout: Personal Hygiene Guidelines