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Healthy hospitals
Food Safety: The Importance of ensuring hygiene standards
General requirements
Good hygiene and food safety practices and informed staff are vital in the preparation, storage, distribution and service of food. These matters are of particular importance in hospital catering because patients may have less resistance to infection from contaminated food.
  • It is the responsibility of the Ward Manager to ensure that food handling and the day-to-day standards conform to the Food Safety Regulations. This legislation is part of the ward operational policies and procedures
  • The Ward Manager is accountable for ensuring hygiene standards are strictly adhered to and any corrective action is taken
  • Ward kitchens are used for food service, the preparation of snacks, beverages and washing up. To ensure the highest standards of hygiene
      are maintained, all staff using the kitchen must comply with the legal  requirements
  • All staff involved with the service of food/beverages to patients need to be constantly aware of the importance of:
     -good food hygiene practice
     -preventing the spread of infection via food
     -high standards of personal higiene
Personal hygiene practices
  • All food handlers should observe the personal hygiene rules and wear clean, protective clothing. A clean disposable apron must be worn during the serving of meals and beverages
  • Each ward kitchen must be provided with a wash hand basin, liquid soap, paper towels and a foot operated pedal bin. The bin must be lined with a black, not yellow, plastic bag. Wash hand basins must not be used for any other purpose than hand washing
  • Food handlers must always wash and dry their hands thoroughly before and after handling food, preparing drinks, after handling waste, after cleaning duties and after visiting the toilet. Fingernails must be kept short and clean. Nail varnish, acrylic nails or nail art must not be worn
  • All food handlers involved in regenerating food must wear a hair net and hat. Food handlers involved only in the service of food of patients, must wear their hair tied back
  • Cuts, burns and sores must be covered with a blue waterproof dressing. Persons with boils or septic cuts must not handle food, and must report to the Ward Manager and be referred to the Occupational Health Department
Ward staff practices
  • Access to ward kitchens must be controlled by the person in charge of the ward. A notice should be placed at the entrance to the ward kitchen stating AUTHORISED PERSONNEL ONLY. The door must be kept closed
  • Ward staff must not consume any type of food or drink intended for patients (including meals and ward provisions)
  • Smoking in the ward kitchens is not allowed
  • Ward staff must never sit on worktops in ward kitchens
  • Food handlers must never wear cardigans when handling or serving food
  • Ward kitchen area must not be used as a rest room facility, and, therefore, only appropriate kitchen equipment should be provided
  • All surfaces must be kept clean, even difficult to reach areas e.g. under the microwave as remnants of food will attract pests e.g. cockroaches, ants, etc. Use a disposable cloth, hot water and detergent to clean surfaces
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