It is most important that food handlers should wear suitable protective clothing that protects the body and completely covers any other clothing being worn. Strong protective footwear should also be worn.
clothing worn in the kitchen must be strong to make it ‘protective’ and withstand the hard wear and frequent washing needed. Clothing will also need to be lightweight, comfortable and absorbent to deal with perspiration caused by a hot kitchen. Kitchen clothing must be clean, changed at least once a day and more frequently if it becomes soiled. It should cover any other clothing and only be worn in the kitchen area. Outdoor clothing, wearing whites, should be kept in a suitable locker.
According to the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at Work Regulations, 1992, employees must wear personal protective clothing/equipment suitable for the work protective chef’s whites, but may add gauntlet gloves and eye goggles if cleaning an oven.
Jackets and Trousers
Chef’s jackets are usually made of cotton or a cotton mixture, are doubled-breasted and ideally have long sleeves; these protect the chest and arms from heat of the stoves and prevent hot foods or liquids burning or scalding the body.
Trousers worn as part of chef’s uniform are usually made from a light weight cotton or coated cotton. They should be loose fitting for both safety and comfort.
Aprons are designed to provide extra protection to the body from being scalded or burned and particularly to protect the legs from any liquids that may spilled; for this reason the apron should be of sufficient length with long ties allowing them to be wrapped around the body and tied at the front so if a hot spillage occurs the apron can be removed quickly.
The main purpose of the hat is to prevent loose hairs from falling into food and to absorb perparation on the forehead. As well as the traditional chef’s toque ( tall white hat) a variety of designs are now available, some with an incoporated net to contain the hair completely . Light weight disposable hats are now used by many establishments.
This should be strong, and in good repair so as to protect and support the feet. As kitchen staff are on their feet for many hours at a time care of the feet is essential. Suitable, clean, comfortable kitchen footwear and socks need to be worn. Open-tops shoes and trainers are unsuitable; these would not offer protection from the spillage of hot liquids, falling knives or heavy items that could be dropped on the feet.