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Catering and Hygiene: Inseparable Yet Often Inscrutable

When it comes to working in catering and food processing, experts agree that safeguarding consumers by practising good hygiene and food safety is of paramount importance.

Catering and Hygiene

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But while the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health may offer a wealth of Food Safety qualifications, one issue that remains unclear and open to debate is the use (or lack thereof) of a chef’s hat.

The Opinions

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to wearing protective headwear in the kitchen, so it boils down to the chef’s personal preference. While some chefs believe that leaving their hair exposed is an offence against hygiene, others believe that the use of a chef’s hat is old fashioned and unnecessary.

Giorgio Locatelli – hairy, hatless and owner of one of the finest Michelin starred restaurants in London – is in the latter camp. He reportedly believes that preventing food poisoning is a far greater priority than covering hair up, and doesn’t want the Food Standards Agency telling him or his staff what to wear.

The Laws

At the moment there are no specific rules relating to hair protection and hats. While the issue of appropriate hair care is loosely discussed in some food safety regulations, there is simply no fixed legislation. While the law states that chefs are expected to practice a good degree of personal hygiene and wear relevant, protecting clothing, the distinct absence of black and white rules mean that this is just advice. It is open to interpretation and subjective to each chef and each kitchen.

The Future

From industrial strength surface cleaners to Manchester kitchen duct cleaning from (Enviro-group.eu Kitchen Duct Cleaners in Manchester), each chef has different ideas about what’s important in keeping their kitchen clean.

But can we trust chefs to make their own rules on hats, hair and hygiene? It seems that the Food Standards Agency and professional bodies think not. Looking forward, these agencies are planning to closely examine current HACCP (Hazard, Analysis, Critical Control Points) and the wording of food safety guidelines with a view making those grey areas more transparent. With this in mind, it looks as though the chefs who are resistant to headwear could be required to tie up their locks before much longer.

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