Foodborne disease outbreaks in the United States are most often caused by poor personal hygiene, especially improper hand washing. These outbreaks are preventable as well. This case is a perfect illustration of the old axiom, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. You could lose your business in one such incident.
Follow and strictly adhere to the following hot dog cart health code guidelines:
- It is important to clip and clean your fingernails.
- Keeping long hair back, pinning it, or containing it in some way is necessary to prevent it from contaminating food.
- Food should not be handled with bare hands. Utensils such as tongs, forks, spoons, or gloves should be used to handle all food.
- When you use the toilet, cough, sneeze, blow your nose, use the phone, handle money, garbage, or anything toxic or unsanitary, your hands need to be washed.
- If you have just washed your hands somewhere else, such as in the bathroom, you must wash them again before entering the work area (the hotdog cart).
- In addition to washing your hands after eating, drinking, smoking, cleaning dirty dishes or other equipment, handling raw meat or other food, or even putting on gloves to handle food, you must also wash your hands frequently during the day.
- You must wash your hands by soaking them in hot water and soap, lathering them for 15-20 seconds, then drying your hands with a single-use towel (such as a paper towel), a clean towel on a roller dispenser, or an air dryer. Hand towels that are used at home should not be used.
- Hand sanitation cannot be compromised by wearing gloves. Additionally, gloves can pick up bacteria and spread them. The use of gloves for handling raw meat and then also serving cooked food would spread bacteria from the raw food to the cooked food.
- Tobacco chewing and smoking are prohibited. It is unsanitary around food, violates health codes, and demonstrates an unprofessional attitude)
- You may not chew gum. Also, it indicates a casual unprofessional attitude and violates health code guidelines.
- When serving food, avoid eating or drinking. These activities should be done outside the area where food is prepared and served. Leave your cart a short distance away. Be sure to wash your hands when you return.
- While in the food service area, you may drink from closed beverage containers (such as those with lids). It must have a handle that prevents your hand from touching the area that will be touched by your mouth or a drinking straw. It should be washed between uses or discarded.
- If you are sneezing, coughing, having a runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, or if your urine is dark yellow (jaundice) or you have a fever, don’t handle food. You should not handle food if you have a burn, pus, or boil that is infected. If you have a cut, an abrasion, or a burn, wear gloves.