The Truth About Hygiene In Restaurants

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Do the employees at restaurants actually wash their hands and change their gloves? This is what I have seen in the worst restaurants in the years of working behind the counter for these establishments. Hand washing and wearing gloves for most employees is seen as a requirement to the employee only if someone is watching them.

The procedures to wash hands and wear gloves is only followed as a whole when the general manager of the store sets the example and enforces them. Otherwise, the employees begin to practice unsanitary practices on a regular basis.

One of the biggest problems with the employees that don’t follow the procedures, is their mentality. A lot of them believe that washing their hands and wearing gloves wasn’t necessary, because they were already ‘clean’ and smart person. They thought because they dressed well and took care of their physical appearance and smelled like perfume/cologne, that this meant that they didn’t need to practice hygiene in the restaurant workspace.

These same individuals are often arrogant when it comes to real hygienal practices. They will take offense to anyone correcting them on their filthy habits in the restaurant, even if the correction comes personally from a visiting health inspector.

This is some of the things they will do:

  • Use the same gloves to take out trash and make food.
    • Yes this happens. Usually doesn’t happen, but some people think that gloves are for their protection from touching dirty stuff, and don’t mind touching others food with the same gloves. As long as nothing they classify as disgusting touches them, then they are fine with this.
  • Not wear gloves at all when handling the food.
    • Employees get lazy, and the ones that do this will often skip putting on gloves if it means getting your food out faster.
  • Picking in the food to snack on it without gloves.
    • It’s not a pleasant sight when you see an employee at a restaurant reaching their bare hands into the same food they are giving to their guests to snack on here and there for themselves.
  • Eating food with gloves on and then using the same gloves to make food.
    • Careless employees will do this because they know the guests will only think that the food is safe if they are seen wearing gloves when they handle it. They will eat food in the back where the guests can’t see them and then come back up front and make the guest’s food with the same gloves on. The guest sees them with gloves on and thinks that their food is safe while the employee makes it.
  • Cleaning hands on apron then touching food.
    • Wiping hands on the apron and then touching the food after that is unsanitary.
  • Playing with hair or nails then touching food.
    • The hair is known to have tons of bacteria that it can carry to another host, and bacteria and filth can easily hide under the fingernails. Even though a person plays with their hair as if it is a living thing, hair is actually not living, but dead despite how good it may look.
  • Loose hair in the kitchen while making food.
    • Hair should be tied back while in the kitchen, and a hat should be worn. Some employees think that their beautiful hair never falls in anyone’s food, even though it does happen a lot. On average males and females she’d 50 to 100 pieces of hair a day.
    • Some employees, including managers, will try to skip out on covering or wrapping their hair in an attempt to look better. They should be wearing a hat or a hair net.
  • Setting their food on the cutting table and eating on the cutting table.
    • This one I witnessed individuals repeatedly taking food from the restaurant and setting it on the same table that they made the guests food, and eat on that same table. It was very unsettling to watch. No one wants to eat off of someone else’s dirty table or plate.
  • Set their phones and speakers down on the same places where food was made and prepped.
    • This is just nasty. Phones are in pockets, on floors (after it is dropped), in bathrooms, and on other surfaces that have not been sanitized or cleaned. Personal belongings should never be set on places where food is made.
  • Leaning on top of places where their guests food is made.
    • Tired, careless, or lazy employees will lean their bodies (bare hands, stomach, and elbows) on the same places where food is placed to serve to their customers.
  • Touching their phones with their gloves on or off.
    • After the crew has been told by management that they can’t have their phones in the kitchen, many employees have them anyway. Worst of all, they are touching their phones sneakily and then touching the food afterwards without washing hands or changing gloves.

If the manager on duty is only concerned about getting in trouble when they are caught letting employees get away doing these, then everyone will break the rules. This is how things like this end up happening in a restaurant to begin with.

In these circumstances, sometimes the managers do care, but the people above him/her don’t. The best thing to do to get all of their attention is to notify the health department of what is going on. Repeated unsanitary violations can get a restaurant like this shut down or suspended.

Restaurants like this are also more susceptible to house flies, roach infestations, and rat infestations. These infestations are commonly linked to restaurants with many health code violations. Usually the establishments that do well on inspections can be trusted to handle their guest’s food with better care. Unfortunately some of the things mentioned above still happen, even in the best restaurants, and behind the manager’s back.

Every establishment will get an employee every now and then that will not wash their hands or change their gloves when handling food while touching unsanitary things. When it does happen, it is up to the establishment to decide if they are going to address the individuals personally that are doing these things or not. Also, someone working in the restaurant will usually care enough to tell somebody about it as long as it doesn’t risk their livelihood.

Luckily not everyone restaurant is like this, and there are plenty that have all of the staff following all the food safety regulations, but not all of them.

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