Personal Hygiene: The Most Attentive Part of Bakery Industry for Developing Countries



Introduction

Hygiene is a subject of not only ever-increasing importance but also a matter of essential and absolute necessity in the bakery industry. Hygiene means maintaining the bakery in such a neat and clean condition that there is the least possibility of causing contamination. The main purpose of hygiene is not merely to fulfill the rules and regulations of food departments but also to meet the moral obligations to consumers. In practice, it is observed that clean-looking products produced under hygienic conditions always attract consumers. Hence while organizing sanitation programs, one has to plan for preventive measures rather than a corrective approach, i.e., it is better to buildup the bakery building on a plinth to prevent rodent entry rather than to control rodents after finding its evidence.


Personal hygiene means the hygiene that deals with individual or personal hygiene or sanitary conditions. Every baker/owner/employee working in a bakery unit has a part to play in the hygienic practices, which will minimize the possibilities of infection through the bakery foods that are prepared. Hence, some recommended measures of personal hygiene intended to prevent the transmission of bacteria harbored in the bowel, nose, and throat are discussed below:


Hands

  • Hands should be washed properly before handling the food material as hand is the most likely source of contamination in food industry. Frequent washing of hand will help remove bacteria so that they cannot reach the processed bakery foods. Hands should be washed with plenty of soap or diluted Hydrochloric acid solution and warm water, followed by rinsing in running water. The basin should be provided near/inside the working premises.

  • If the person suffers from any skin diseases like ulcer, pus or even large cut should not be allowed to prepare bakery products. Otherwise the infection may get transmitted to consumer through products.

  • Use rubber gloves while working, if possible. But these gloves should be washed with appropriate sanitiser strictly before starting and after finishing the work. Otherwise the gloves themselves may contaminate the food items.

  • Baker should not wear hand jewellery (like ring) including wristwatch or bangles. Because the food may stick inside the hand wear even after proper washing of hands, which get contaminated with atmospheric bacteria when baker goes outside the factory and that will contaminate the fresh food while working again.

  • Nails should be kept short and scrupulously clean.

Head

  • The hair should be cut short and kept clean.

  • Combing of hair should be avoided in the actual working premises as well as in the sales room.

  • Hair should be kept tidy by means of cap or head scarf which covers at least 2/3 part of head. Cap/scarf prevent falling of hair and dandruff into products while preparation which may spread harmful organisms from the lesions of the scalp. A cap/scarf also helps in absorbing the perspiration gathered on forehead which would otherwise find an easy entry in the dough processing. The cap/scarf should be washed at least twice a weak.

Cloth

  • A light coloured (preferably white) protective uniform clothing (including apron) preferably made up of cotton should be worn while working in bakery. The uniform should be comfortable so it does not obstruct smooth movement while working.

  • The uniform should be laundered/washed regularly (at least twice a week). Regular repair and replacement of lost button etc. is also essential.

  • All large establishments should be provided with adequate changing rooms, rest rooms and provision for storing clothes and other personal belongings.

  • Provision of bathrooms in changing rooms will encourage a high standard of personal cleanliness.

Human Excreta

  • Disposal of excreta should be proper, quick and far away from the actual working premises.

  • Person who suffers from diarrhoea should not be allowed to work in bakery.

  • Hands should be washed thoroughly after defecation.

Habits

  • Fingering the nose/eye/ear/mouth while working should be strictly prohibited as it carries a lot of bacteria, which immediately contaminates the bakery food.

  • The mouth or nose should be guarded properly (with handkerchief) while coughing or sneezing because it can discharge number of bacteria suspended in the droplets of moisture.

  • While on duty, the use of tobacco in any form should be avoided, because not only the smoke and ash from cigarettes/bidi are harmful but many smokers contaminate their fingers while taking the cigarettes / bidi from their lips. Similarly, while keeping tobacco in mouth for chewing or removing loose pieces of tobacco from mouth also contaminate the food through finger. Other habits such as chewing pan and taking snuff also result in contamination of the fingers.

  • Eating of food, drinking of beverages or chewing of gum is also restricted to designated area.

Hygienic Practices

  • Employees should be encouraged to practice good personal hygiene habit at all times.

  • Every bakery should have a first aid box in case of any accidental cuts or burns.

  • Periodical as well as incidental medical checkup with health authority should be followed strictly. It is not only a safeguard for the health of a worker but will also protect the health of customers. Because during checkup, if any worker is found suffering from unravelled diseases, he may not be allowed to work in food production which prevents the contamination.

  • It is preferable to have health card of each employee.

Hygienic Awareness

  • Each and every employee (particularly labourer) must get aware of the importance of cleanliness and hygiene. And for that they must receive training on the subject as well as refresher training should also be arranged, periodically.

Miscellaneous

  • Every employee must have a bath daily.

  • Employees’ lunch-boxes, water bags, tiffins and/or personal items are not to be placed in working premises.

  • Personal items, such as pens, pencils, thermometer etc. are avoided to carry in production area. Even if it is necessary to carry, it should be kept aside so it does not fall while preparation.

  • No persons with obvious boils, sores, infected wound or any other infections or communicable disease is to be permitted for work.

  • Responsibility of ensuring compliance of the above requirements should be clearly assigned to the competent authority.

Cleaning while Working

  • Bakery proprietors should become familiar with the municipal laws dealing with the sanitary measures and should educate their staff in enforcing them.

  • Every precaution should be taken to create perfect conditions of cleanliness.

  • The working area must be kept spotless by cleaning all the while.

  • Cleaning operations shall be performed in a manner to prevent contamination of materials and products. And for that, principle aim is to make such facilities, which provide minimum hand contact with raw material, machineries etc. And secondly to prevent gross contamination between ingredients and finished food or between refuse and these materials.

  • All production equipments and supplies shall be arranged in an orderly fashion. No other equipment should be placed in ingredient storage or production area.

  • All equipment and processing should be controlled in such a way that, no excessive physical dust, oil mist or spillage is produced in working or storage area.

  • Cleaning equipment like brooms, dustpans etc. should be supplied and be readily available for use as and when required.

  • Food contact surfaces i.e. working table, equipment, machineries, and utensils should be washed with detergent/sanitiser, brushed and wiped off before the beginning and after finishing the work. It is necessary to eliminate food residue and maintain a good appearance. At the end of work, it should be kept at proper place in a proper way.

  • All cleaning compounds, sanitiser and detergents, insecticides, pesticides etc. should be properly labelled and stored in a locked compartment.

  • The entire establishment must supply potable water for cleaning purpose.

  • Utensils and intermediate containers may be washed during use (if time permits) or as needed and stored in an inverted position off the floor.

  • Pans, trays or other main product equipments shall be cleaned frequently to prevent transfer of carbon particles in the products. Such pans should be stored in an inverted position to prevent contamination by dust etc.

  • Pallets and skids are to be kept clean and maintained in good condition. When pallets or other wooden surfaces are washed, they must be properly dried before use.

  • Effective measures should be taken to prevent the inclusion of metal, wood, glass or other extraneous materials. This can be accomplished through the use of sifters, magnets, strainers and metal detectors at appropriate locations.

  • All dry ingredients should be sifted through 30-mesh screen for finely milled material and 10-mesh screen for all other material, and all liquid ingredients strained before use.

  • Single-service containers i.e. paper-egg-tray should not be reused.

  • Wash hands signs must be properly displayed in all rest-rooms, lunchrooms, over sink, entry of the production area to prevent contamination through hand, as it is most important source of infection.

  • Each person should be responsible for the cleanliness of the area he has been allotted.

  • The floor is also to be kept clean, free from dusted flour and leftover pieces of the dough. After finishing the work, the floor must be mopped with hot water and phenyl.

  • Any spillage must be immediately wiped and mopped preferably with phenyl etc.

  • The greasing of bread pans and the depanning of the bread should be carried out in such a way so as to minimise the possibility of floors getting greasy. After use, the bread pans should be wiped clean and stacked in such a manner so as to avoid the dust getting deposited inside the pans.

  • Ingredients should not be stored in the working premises, but should be drawn from the stores as required and should be placed, weighed down for each mixing in suitable clean containers.

  • Perishable ingredients such as compressed yeast, milk, fruits etc. should not be left open for long in the bakery. They should be used as quickly as possible preferably immediately after purchase.

  • The spoiled ingredients or ready products should be dumped away to prevent the obnoxious odour and contamination getting spread to other materials.

  • Bakery products are mostly sterilised by the heat of the oven. Hence, care must be taken to prevent the contamination after baking is over (i.e. while packing, transportation, selling etc.)

  • Throw the scrap, wrappers of ingredients or any other garbage in the dustbins provided for that purpose. The garbage can must be cleaned properly by dumping the garbage at appropriate place, and washing after each disposal. Otherwise it may attract flies, cockroaches and mice. Garbage cans made up of plastic with cover are preferred.

  • Hot water jetting must be done in drains to avoid logging due to use of flour, sugar and ghee.

Advantages of Cleanliness: Cleanliness helps not only in selling but also in production.

  • Beneficial in Production: By maintaining clean, well-lighted, ventilated bakery, the efficiency of operations will increase. The bakery employees will be more careful about their work and will be proud of their profession. This will result in the reduction of waste, improvement in quality and quantity of output.

  • Beneficial in Selling: Furthermore, cleanliness itself is an advertisement to boost up the sale. If the bakery is kept spotlessly clean, you would not hesitate to invite the housewives to visit the bakery, and witness for themselves the extreme care which is taken in making the baked goods which are available to them fresh daily. Nothing impresses the modern housewife more than thorough cleanliness and neatness. If she is assured that the bakery is operated with the same care that she employs in her own kitchen, she is sure to become your permanent customer. Moreover, she will be induced to buy more and more bakery products. But on the contrary, if the housewife witnesses that no cleanliness is maintained in the bakery, she represents a lost customer and it will be next to impossible to regain. The same condition is applied to the bakery sales room and sales staff.

Courtesy: FnBNEWS