Good Importing Practices for Food
5.0 Personnel

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5.1 Hygiene and Health Requirements

5.1.1 Cleanliness and Conduct

All persons entering food handling areas maintain an appropriate degree of personal cleanliness and take the appropriate precautions to prevent the contamination of food.

Assessment Criteria

  • All persons wash their hands upon entering unprotected food handling areas: before starting work, after handling contaminated materials, after breaks and after using toilet facilities. Where necessary to minimize microbiological contamination, employees use disinfectant hand dips.
  • Protective clothing, hair covering, footwear and/or gloves appropriate to the operation in which the employee is engaged, are worn and maintained in a sanitary manner (e.g., employees in packaging areas wear effective hair coverings).
  • Any behaviour which could result in contamination of food, such as eating, use of tobacco, chewing gum, or unhygienic practices such as spitting are prohibited in food handling areas.
  • All persons entering unprotected food handling areas remove jewellery and other objects which may fall into, or otherwise contaminate, food. Jewellery which cannot be removed, including wedding bands and medical alerts, is covered.
  • Personal effects and street clothing are not kept in unprotected food handling areas and are stored in a manner that prevents contamination.
  • Access of personnel and visitors is controlled to prevent contamination. The traffic pattern of employees prevents cross-contamination of the product.

5.1.2 Communicable Diseases/Injuries

No person who is known to be infected with a disease likely to be transmitted through food, or who has an open cut or wound, is permitted to work in food handling areas where there is a likelihood of the person directly or indirectly contaminating the food.

Assessment Criteria

  • The importer has a policy, and enforces the policy, to prevent personnel who are known to be suffering from a disease, or who are known to be carriers of a disease transmissible through food, from working in food handling areas.
  • The importer requires that employees advise management when they are suffering from a communicable disease likely to be transmitted through food. Conditions which are to be reported include:
    • jaundice;
    • diarrhoea;
    • vomiting;
    • fever;
    • sore throat with fever;
    • discharges from the ear, eye or nose.
  • Employees having open cuts or wounds do not handle food or food contact surfaces unless the injury is completely protected by a secure waterproof covering (e.g., rubber gloves).

5.2 Training

5.2.1 General Food Hygiene Training

Every food handler is trained in personal hygiene and the hygienic handling of food such that they understand the precautions necessary to prevent the contamination of food.

Assessment Criteria

  • The importer has a written training program for employees which is delivered as follows:
    • appropriate training in personal hygiene and hygienic handling of food is provided to all food handlers at the beginning of their employment;
    • the original food hygiene training is reinforced and updated at appropriate intervals.

5.2.2 Technical Training

To ensure food safety, accuracy of product representation and net quantity, personnel are trained such that they have adequate technical knowledge and understanding of the operation(s) or process(es) for which they are responsible. This technical knowledge is essential for personnel who assess foreign manufacturers.

Assessment Criteria

  • Training is appropriate to the level of risk associated with the product and the tasks assigned. For example:
    • personnel are trained to understand the manufacturing process involved in the production of the product, the importance of the critical limits, the procedures for monitoring, the action to be taken if the limits are not met and the records to be kept;
    • personnel are trained to understand labelling requirements;
    • personnel responsible for the maintenance of scales and metering devices for net quantity controls are trained to identify deficiencies and to take the appropriate corrective action;
    • personnel and supervisors responsible for the sanitation program are appropriately trained to understand the principles and methods required for effective cleaning and sanitizing.
  • Training is appropriate to ensure that personnel have a current understanding of Canadian food legislation and importing policies. For example, the importer has trained personnel responsible for:
    • label development, design and sign-off;
    • import documents and administrative regulatory requirements.
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