Being a food handler is not an easy job. While on the job, you will have to manage multiple responsibilities as food handlers have to attend to managers, other employees, and of course the customers.
It is your job as a food handler to meet those responsibilities and keep the food you serve safe.
One of the most important aspects of food safety is understanding what you should and should not wear in the kitchen.
Below we will go over the required attire for food handlers as well as a few reasons why the rules exists.
Do food handlers need to wear an apron?
Not every state requires that food handlers have to wear an apron while cooking. With that being said, most restaurants will have their own policy when it comes to aprons and it is best to check with your employer.
Generally, if your employer requires you to wear an apron, you must remove and store them properly when leaving prep areas. This includes when going to the bathroom, taking a break, taking out the trash, etc.
Do I have to wear non-slip shoes while in the kitchen?
Generally, there are no state or county requirements that you have to wear non-slip shoes while in the kitchen. But, with that being said, not only do we highly suggest it, some restaurant managers might require it for their establishment. Non-slip shoes not only keep you safe, but others around you. To learn more about how to choose the right restaurant shoes for you, check out the guide we have written here.
How clean does a food handlers clothes need to be?
It is best practice for a food handler to wear a new pair of clean clothes every day on the job. Food handlers in dirty clothes not only carry a higher risk of pathogens on their person, but it can also give a bad impression of your restaurant to both customers and health inspectors.
We actually suggest that food handlers change into clean work clothes at the restaurant before starting their shift just to be safe.
Do food handlers need to wear hair restraints?
Short answer: yes. Food handlers MUST wear some sort of hair restraint. Hair restraints include hair nets, hats, visors, and scarves.
Food handlers with beards will also be required to wear a beard restraint.
Can food handlers wear watches?
No. Food handlers cannot wear watches. This includes stainless steel watches.
Can food handlers wear nail polish or artificial nails?
Generally, food handlers cannot wear nail polish or artificial nails.
Sometimes, employers will allow food handlers to wear nail polish or artificial nails if they wear gloves to prevent any sort of contamination or pathogen hazard.
Can food handlers wear bracelets?
No. Food handlers are not allowed to wear bracelets.
This is a strict rule because food handlers cannot wash their hands effectively if they are wearing jewelry on their hands and wrists
There have been reports that wedding band bracelets (whatever those are) are sometimes OK to be worn. It is best to check with your employer regarding those though.
We often get the question when it comes to bracelets, “Can food handlers wear medical ID bracelets?”
Generally the answer is no, but some employers will allow you to wear a medical ID higher up on the arm.
Can food handlers wear rings?
Food handlers are not allowed to wear any rings besides a plain band such as a wedding ring.
Food handlers especially are not allowed to wear rings with stones implanted in them as that is a major potential food contaminant and choking hazard.
Can food handlers wear earrings?
Similar to rings, only simple stud earrings are generally allowed to be worn by food handlers. Anything that hangs or dangles is not only a potential hazard to customers but also to the food handler by it being caught in machinery.
Here at Food Handlers Card Help, we generally suggest to food handlers to remove all jewelry before entering the kitchen to be safe.
If you do decide you want to wear jewelry, we suggest that you check with your employer that they are alright with you wearing it.
It is at the discretion of the company to require you to also remove other types of jewelry. This could include, earrings, necklaces, and facial jewelry.
Safety is of the utmost importance as a food handler.
Wear clean clothes, take off your jewelry, keep your hair in check and everything will be fine.
You can get fancy again once you are off work. 🙂
Want more information on Food Handlers in general? Visit our homepage. We cover EVERY state’s food handler requirements, laws, and other hard-to-find food handler details.