The heat emanating from the kitchen makes a lot of cooks improvise on the kind of clothing they can put on that will allow for more air in order to make them feel comfortable while going about their cooking jobs.
One of such clothing item that naturally comes to mind in this instance is shorts. But, can you wear whatever you like in the kitchen?
Do shorts count as appropriate kitchen wear? As with a job so sensitive as kitchen work, there are established health codes guiding the activities of kitchen workers.
Now, this health code would differ from state to state but, one thing about the law is certain and that is the fact that shorts though not expressly banned, are still not encouraged. Here’s, how the twist goes:
While the health codes do not stand against shorts directly, it does call for the covering of hair and clothing that very well covers anywhere body hair can be found.
That being said, the question; can you wear shorts in a kitchen, can be better answered now. Shorts will not adequately cover leg hair and so, automatically do not count as appropriate attire for the kitchen.
Reasons why shorts are disallowed in some kitchens
Shorts are disallowed in the kitchen for the foremost reason of them being unhygienic as they leave the food that is being prepared, exposed to body hairs.
You might wonder how hairs that can be found down below on legs, would contaminate the food being cooked.
But, contamination happens unknowingly, when you innocently scratch your legs then, proceed with the food you are cooking, strands of hair would accompany you and that’s how the food ends up being contaminated courtesy of the shorts you put on.
They are also seen to be unsafe for use in the kitchen. This is because they will not guarantee any form of protection at all from minor accidents like spills, cuts, scratches, not so minor ones like burns and scalds.
Imagine brushing your bare legs against hot stoves or ovens kept at low levels. Shorts would also work against you getting any form of insurance claims in the event of a kitchen accident.
Once the insurer gets wind of the fact that the victim was putting on shorts and not the approved uniform for them, they just might withhold paying any claims whatsoever as, it is a result of your negligence.
Finally shorts are not allowed because they are not professional nor do they look professional.
Therefore, you will rarely find Standard, high-profile kitchens have their kitchen staff put on shorts. This is because they usually have a well-grounded head chef who would not compromise on important rules bordering on safety and hygiene.
These kitchens are known to work on a high level of professionalism and stay open to public view and scrutiny and so, would naturally take these things very seriously.
What does the Standard Health Code say about wearing shorts in the kitchen?
The health code does not directly talk against the use of shorts, however, after careful interpretation, you would realize that they do not classify shorts as part of appropriate kitchen wear.
It states that “food employees shall wear hair restraints and clothing that covers body hair, that are designed and worn to effectively keep their hair from contacting exposed food.”
Now, body hair in this instance does not only refer to the hair on your head but, anywhere hair can be found on your body should be covered for safety reasons.
Now, this law might seem irrational to the ears but, when analyzed carefully, it really isn’t. Your leg hairs can contaminate food in more ways than you can think of.
Have you ever thought about storage with food items or equipment kept at a low level that your legs can brush against? They can pick up a strand or two, unknown to you.
You might also subconsciously, scratch your legs and go on to touch food thereby, transferring hair or other germs onto the food.
Clothing or other items that should not be worn in the kitchen
Precaution should be taken on some of the things we take for granted while on the job as kitchen worker. The fact is you can never be too careful or know too much about certain hazards and that is why they are called; accidents.
Because, they happen accidentally without taking permission from nobody or giving any kind of prior notice.
Talking about accidents, here are a few items that should not be worn to the kitchen to avoid them happening.
Big or loose clothing
Big or loose clothing or clothes with baggy sleeves should be totally avoided when working in the kitchen. This is because you do not have total control over them.
There is the tendency for them to get stuck in any of the kitchen equipment or worse still, parts of them could catch fire.
They are also generally uncomfortable and might get in the way of you doing stuff in the kitchen, making you constantly fold sleeves or adjust a part of them.
For obvious reasons. They do not offer sufficient coverage and as such, leave you exposed to spills and burns. There is also the risk of bodily hair staying exposed to food that is very unhygienic.
In the first place, most medications would indicate on the label that they be stored in a cool and dry place. A kitchen is most certainly not cool and so, unfit for them to be kept there.
Secondly and most importantly, there’s also the risk of them getting damaged if kept close to any heat-producing equipment or getting added mistakenly into food that is being prepared. For these and more, keep medicines stored in more appropriate places than, the kitchen.
Expired food items
It is advisable to check through everything you are to use in the process of cooking before using them. Unknown to you, some of them might have expired, and using them could lead to dire consequences.
There is a tendency for you not to check through new items recently bought but, please do especially if you did not do so at the point of purchase. It is not impossible to find one or two to have expired.
Also, be double sure that refrigerated items brought out to be used are still good and fresh. Avoid using spoilt meat or other refrigerated foodstuffs like fruits or vegetables.
We understand that you are still keeping that knife with a broken handle because you can still get some use out of them. However, they might pose a risk to the next person using the kitchen.
Also, when you notice that scissors, knives, or forks used in the kitchen are no more as sharp as they used to be, it is best to throw them away and get new ones.
Burnt or torn aprons should be replaced also, the same thing with damaged pots and pans. Having them around might lead to accidents in the kitchen.
We know we use liquid soap for washing dishes but, they should be kept carefully and not stored in the same cupboard or, that where other food items are stored. Also, care should be taken to keep flammable products away from fire or heat.
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What are the Food Safety Rules?
The Food Safety Rules are generally known to be a method which is scientific that seeks to guide the handling of food and food supplies, its preparation, and subsequent storage in effective ways that would prevent food-related illnesses.
These rules can be found in every state due to the fact that the issue of food safety and hygiene is a global concern as it can spell very severe effects for all and sundry. It entails essential details bordering on:
- Personal hygiene and ways of imbibing personal hygiene practices.
- Effective cleaning and sanitization of kitchen equipment, utensils, surfaces, and surroundings.
- Effective pest control methods in the kitchen.
- Understanding the dimensions of food intolerance, poisoning, and allergies.
- Appropriate ways of storing, chilling, and heating food, bearing in mind the particular temperature, equipment, or environment.
These guidelines can always be found on the Food Standard Agency Website for easy reference.
What is known as Protective Clothing in Kitchens?
The kitchen is one industry where Personal Protective Equipment are used.
What counts as protective clothing or equipment in the kitchen?
Protective hand gloves, aprons, and thick floor mats prevent you from tripping over slippery floors. PPE is highly essential to reduce hazardous experiences in the kitchen.
You might not understand this but, the work of a chef can be overly exerting. They work for long hours, standing on their feet the whole time.
There is no doubt, about the need for them to search for comfortable clothing that are breathable and will keep them cool.
Shorts naturally fits the bill for them but, unfortunately, the Standard Food Guidelines kick against it.
It states that “Kitchen work clothes should minimize to the barest minimum, skin coming in contact with food and to prevent bodily hairs from being exposed to food”.
Now, no matter how you tweak this law or have it interpreted, you will still arrive at the fact that; shorts, do not count as appropriate wear for the kitchen. This law should be obeyed to the letter as it is for your safety as well as the safety of the end consumers.