Personnel (staff and contractors) and visitors can contaminate produce with harmful microorganisms, chemicals, or foreign matter from their hands, body, clothes or equipment. To reduce this risk, your business should set good personal health and hygiene practices and make sure they are followed.
What are good health and hygiene practices?
Good practices include:
- Washing hands before handling food, and after toilet and lunch breaks, or any other time hands may have become dirty.
- Avoiding sneezing, coughing, etc on food.
- Not attending work/ handling food while sick with gastro or respiratory illness.
- Telling supervisors of illness or events (e.g. spills) that could make food unsafe.
- Wearing clean clothes and securing hair and jewellery in food processing areas.
- Wearing coverings appropriate to the task (e.g. gloves, shoe covers, hair nets).
- Re-assigning workers that may still be recovering to lower-risk duties (e.g. computer tasks)
What are the requirements?
Primary producers and primary processors of berries, leafy vegetables and melons must do what they reasonably can to make sure personnel and visitors exercise personal and health practices that do not make produce unsafe or unsuitable to eat.
This means you must make sure anyone who visits or works on your site or in your facilities understands and follows good personal health and hygiene practices.
Does this apply to me?
In the Standards:
- A primary producer is a business that grows and/or harvests berries, leafy vegetables or melons.
- A primary processor is a business that does any of the following with berries, leafy vegetables or melons: washing, trimming, sorting, sanitising, storing, combining, packing, and transporting between packhouses.
Getting it right – reducing your risk
- Understand common sources of contamination from personnel and visitors.
- Provide and maintain clean toilets and handwashing facilities in convenient locations.
- Provide staff hygiene training when they first start work and regularly refresh training (e.g. each year).
- Provide site inductions or materials on health, hygiene and food safety to visitors before they visit.
- Provide written instructions, signs and posters to remind people what they should do.
- Encourage staff to report illness and enable them to be re-assigned to low-risk tasks during recovery.
- Ask visitors to complete declarations they are not sick with intestinal or respiratory illness.
What do I need to do?
- Contact your state/territory food regulatory authority for more details on the requirements you must meet under the standard.
- Read more on each of the requirements in the standards and what it means for your business in Chapter 4: Primary production standards (Australia only).
- Read the Fresh Produce Safety Centre – Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety 2022