The nose, mouth and ears

Nose, mouth and ears

Up to 40% of adults carry Staphylococcus aureus in their nose. Coughs and sneezes can carry droplet infection for considerable distances and contaminate food and/or work surfaces. Persons with bad colds or continuously coughing and sneezing should not handle open food. Hands should be washed after blowing the nose and single used disposable paper handkerchiefs are are preferred. Food handlers preparing food who cough or sneeze immediately, should turn away from the food and cough/sneeze into their upper arm. As the upper arm is unlikely to come into contact with food or food-contact surfaces this should minimise the risk of contamination.

 As the mouth is also likely to harbour Staphylococcus aureus, food handlers should not eat sweets, chew gum, taste food with the fingers or a previously used spoon, or blow into glasses to polish them. Spitting is obliviously prohibited as in nose and teeth picking or poking fingers into ears. All of these practices transfer bacteria to food directly or indirectly. Discharges from ears, eyes or nose may contaminate food and such aliments must be reported to the supervisor. Medical clearance will normally be required before resuming work. Effective supervision, clear instruction and training are essential to minimise hazards from the nose, mouth or ears.