Protective clothing

Protective clothing

All food handlers and visitors should wear clean, washable, light-coloured, easy-to-clean protective clothing, preferably without external pockets. Pockets are used for keeping pens, sweets, handkerchiefs and cigarettes. All of which could expose food to risk of contamination. Press studs or Velcro fastening are preferable to buttons. Protective garments should be appropriate for the work being carried out and should completely cover ordinary clothing. Jumper and shirt sleeves must not be protrude and, if short-sleeved overalls are worn, only clean forearms must be visible. Staff must be aware that protective clothing is primarily worn to protect the food from risk of contamination and not to keep their own clothes clean. Out door clothing and personal effects must not be brought into the food rooms. Dust, pet hairs and woollen fibres are just a few of the contaminants carried on ordinary clothing. Lockers for out door clothing should be provided in non-food rooms.


Clean protective clothing must be provided and worn from the start of the working day. The correct procedure must always be followed when putting on the protective clothing. Head covering should always be put on first, followed by coats or boiler suits to avoid hairs getting on to the shoulders of protective clothing. Protective head covering should not be removed at breaks unless the protective clothing or coat is removed first. Protective clothing should not be in toilets and if practical, should be removed prior to using the toilet. Protective clothing should not be worn out side the food premises, not used to travel to or from work and not worn during lunch times sporting activities such as football or lying on the grass.


The use of different coloured protective clothing is recommended to distinguish between staff who handle raw food and those who handle high risk food. In additions, disposable protective clothing is becoming more widely available.

Aprons, if worn, should be suitable for the particular operation, light-coloured and capable or being thoroughly cleaned or disposable. Aprons which are torn or have badly worn surfaces which create cleaning difficulties should be replaced. Facilities should be provided for cleaning water proof aprons at various time during production and at the end of each working day. Cleanable hooks should be provided for hanging up aprons.

Dirty or soiled protective clothing expose food to risk of contamination and must be replaced. Where food handlers handle both raw and ready-to-eat foods, aprons and other potentially contaminated clothing must be changed. A system, of which staff are aware, must be in place to ensure clean protective clothing is available when required. Dirty protective clothing should be laundered so there is no risk to food. Suitable foot wear should be worn to prevent slipping and to protect the feet. Boots may be provided for wearing in wet areas. They should be anti-slip, unlined and easy to clean. Suitable facilities should be provided for cleaning and sorting cleaned boots. Protective clothing should not be stored next to cleaning equipment due to risk of contamination.