when are food handlers required to wash hands
Kristina Davis

Hygiene is everything, so when are food handlers required to wash hands?

There are few professions that require the constant sanitation of your hands because of how easy it is for our hands to carry dirt and germs. 

Doctors, dermatologists, and in our case, food handlers and chefs are all examples of those who constantly have to wash their hands.

They need to do this to prevent causing infection and contaminating things.

So food handlers, just like those other professions listed above, have to wash their hands almost every time. This article will be based specifically on those instances when it is necessary for food handlers to wash their hands.

So, When Are Food Handlers Required To Wash Hands?

when food handlers wash hands

Food is delicate in the sense that it has nothing that is truly protecting it from germs.

This is why we have to wash what we eat properly and cook under adequate heat. 

But sometimes, even that isn’t enough if the food isn’t handled properly. 

You might cook the food properly and wash it thoroughly but it can all mean nothing. This is if you expose it to more germs by using dirty utensils and touching it with unwashed hands. 

Since health and hygiene are our number one priority it is highly important for food handlers to wash their hands as frequently as possible.

They should constantly wash their hands, especially in the following situations listed below.

Situation #1: When Entering The Food Preparation Room

It is important to wash your hands when entering a place generally because you don’t want to bring germs with you. 

entering food preparation room

Most people don’t necessarily comply with this but food handlers don’t have the luxury of ignoring that.

This is because it is more important for them to wash their hands before entering the kitchen. 

It doesn’t matter if you are going into the kitchen to handle food or not, you must wash your hands because you might touch something in the kitchen without actually knowing. 

And we all know how germs work, all you need is a tiny touch to spread all sorts of pathogens.

Situation #2: Before Preparing A Meal

One would think that after washing your hands at the entrance, all is smooth sailing, that you won’t have to wash your hands again. 

But then, that’s just not true.

before preparing meal

After entering the kitchen, there are so many things you could have done or touched before handling the food itself. 

You could have played with your hair or scratched your skin, or carried a garbage bag out.

That is why it is important to wash your hands before doing anything to the food in the kitchen as a food handler.

Tip: That is why it is important to make use of hair nets and nylon gloves while making meals in the kitchen as a food handler.

Situation #3: Before Touching Cooking Utensils

You have to wash your hands before touching cooking utensils. You also have to wash the cooking utensils before making use of them.

cooking utensils

This is because you don’t know what must have touched it while it was left exposed in the cooking area. 

You have to wash your hands before touching the utensils for the same reason you have to wash your hands before touching the food.

Situation #4: After Handling Raw Food

Food handlers are required to wash their hands before and after touching food in general, especially when dealing with raw food. 

Aside from the fact that it is sanitary to wash your hands after dealing with raw food, some raw food has a certain smell.

And I’m sure you don’t want to be stuck with on your hands. 

handling raw food
Tip: You wouldn't have to wash your hands after touching raw food if you made use of a glove.

Situation #5: After Touching Spoilt Food

It is very important to wash your hands immediately after touching spoilt food.

This is because there are some bacteria and other microorganisms that are responsible for the decaying of the food. 

If you have touched the spoiled food, it means you have been in contact with those microorganisms.

It is of high importance to dispose of the food in a place where it can’t affect other food. 

spoiled food

Do not forget to wash your hands immediately to avoid spreading agents of decay.

Situation #6: After Cooking

I normally wash my hands after cooking because I like the cooling sensation of the water.

Especially after one has been exposed to a certain amount of heat for a period of time in the process of cooking. 

Washing your hands after cooking has some therapeutic effects. Aside from that, washing your hands after cooking helps to get rid of food particles that have been stuck in your hands.

Not only that, but it also helps to get rid of the odor that comes from dealing with certain dishes. 

Please do well by taking my advice, I learned this the hard way when I accidentally put my hands in my eyes after making salsa.

cooking food

It is an experience that can be easily avoided if you wash your hands after cooking. 

Tip: All these apply mostly to those food handlers who do not make use of gloves.

Food handlers should be sure to wash their hands after those situations listed above and more.

Like when they dispose of their garbage or encounter small kitchen accidents like burns and cuts. 

All in all, good food handlers will also know at the back of their mind when they are supposed to wash their hands. 

Where Should The Sink Be Located?

sink location

Now that we all familiar with the instances where food handlers are required to wash their hands, we can now proceed to the next thing.

And that is where should those sinks for washing their hands be located?

Location #1: At The Entrance Of The Kitchen

All the possible entrances of the kitchens should have a handwashing sink that is fully stocked with soap and wipes.

Having a washing hand base at the entrance makes hand washing easy for the food handlers.

Location #2: The Point Before Leaving The Kitchen

As I said earlier it is important for food handlers to wash their hands before leaving the kitchen. 

And this is why it is important to have a washing hand base situated at the entrance before leaving the kitchen.

sink in kitchen

This would prevent you from having to touch the handle of the door before leaving the kitchen.

Location #3: At Other Corners In The Kitchen

There should be as much washing hand base in the kitchen so that food handlers have unrestricted access to it. 

The number of washing hand bases in the kitchen depends on how big the kitchen is, the bigger the kitchen, the more hand-washing sink necessary.

All food handlers should wash their hands regularly at those stations listed above and maintain the hygienic sanctuary of the kitchen. 


faqs for hand washing

What Is The Right Way For Food Handlers To Wash Their Hands?

With all the fuss about food handlers washing their hands regularly, one would think that they have a special method of washing your hands.

Well, they don’t, food handlers wash their hands like normal people. 

All they need to do is go to a hand-washing sink and wash their hands with soap, making sure they lather up properly in the process.  

They should wash the front and the back of their hands and everything in between, especially their fingers, and rinse off when they are done.


Food handlers are very important in our everyday lives and they go a long way to make sure our food is properly made and taken care of.

They also play a huge part in our safety and health wise which is why doing a perfectly splendid job is important on their part.

In conclusion to all that has been said so far, we can see how important sanitation is in our lives, especially when dealing with food.  

At this point, I guess we all now know the answer to the question, “when are food handlers required to wash hands?

I hope this article has been helpful. Thank you very much for your time and patience. Stay safe!