Risk from infected food handlersIf you work around open food while you have an infection (mainly from bacteria and viruses) you could contaminate the food or surfaces the food comes into contact with. This can spread infection to others.
Legal requirementsThe law requires that in all food businesses:
- "No person suffering from, or being a carrier of a disease likely to be transmitted through food or afflicted, for example, with infected wounds, skin infections, sores or diarrhoea is to be permitted to handle food or enter any food-handling area in any capacity if there is any likelihood of direct or indirect contamination."
- "Any person so affected and employed in a food business and who is likely to come into contact with food is to report immediately the illness or symptoms, and if possible their causes, to their manager or supervisor."
This guidance helps managers and staff to prevent the spread of infection by advising which illnesses and symptoms staff should report and what managers should do in response.
Points to remember
- Diarrhoea and vomiting are the main symptoms of illnesses that can be transmitted through food.
- Staff handling food or working in a food handling area must report these symptoms to management immediately.
- Managers must exclude staff with these symptoms from working with or around open food, normally for 48 hours from when symptoms stop naturally.
- wash and dry their hands before handling food, or surfaces likely to come into contact with food, especially after going to the toilet.