The policy on wearing jewellery to work in a food business can differ from food business to food business and from country to country. Welcome to Week 22 of the HACCP Mentor Food Safety HACCP Challenge. This week’s challenge involves you checking if staff are wearing jewellery to work. There are also some additional actions that I would like you to check.
Is there a legal requirement for wearing jewellery in a food business?
Depending on where your food business is located, there may be a legal requirement prohibiting the wearing of any jewellery within a food premises. Just refer to your local food safety legislation for guidance.
How to achieve this #FSHChallenge
Step 1: Check what your local food safety rules stipulate around wearing jewellery when working in a food business.
Step 2: Review your current food business jewellery policy for compliance with your local food safety legislation. If you don’t have a jewellery policy, now is a good time to get one documented and implemented.
Step 3: Make changes to your jewellery policy if you find that it does not currently align with your relevant food legislation.
Step 4: Walk around your food business and undertake a visual check of the current jewellery wearing status.
Step 5: Take appropriate corrective action for any discrepancies that you may find.
Reasons why jewellery should not be worn in a food business
There are is some sound justification as to what jewellery should not be worn in a food business. Here are a few:
- You cannot wash your hands effectively if you are wearing rings on your fingers.
- Jewellery may accidentally drop into food causing a foreign matter contamination issue.
- Touching jewellery worn in ears, noses, tongues and other facial areas can result in contact with bodily fluids (which may harbour bacteria).
- There is an increased risk of personal injury if the jewellery gets caught by moving machinery parts or equipment.
Is there a customer requirement not allowing jewellery?
If your food business has or hopes to have third-party food safety and quality certification it may be a requirement that a “no jewellery” policy is developed and implemented within your food business. Below are some reference points for common GFSI recognised standards. If there is a difference between what the law states in your area and what your customer certification standard states, always go with the one that is the strictest.
- SQF 7.2, Clause 188.8.131.52 states that “Jewelry and other loose objects shall not be worn or taken into a food handling or processing operation or any area where food is exposed. The wearing of plain bands with no stones and medical alert bracelets that cannot be removed can be permitted, however the supplier will need to consider their customer requirements and the applicable food legislation”.
- SQF 7.2, Clause 184.108.40.206 All visitors shall be required to remove jewelry and other loose objects.
- BRC Issue 7, Clause 7.2.1 – “watches shall not be worn”, “jewellery shall not be worn, with the exception of a plain wedding ring or wedding wristband”, “rings and studs in exposed parts of the body, such as ears, noses, tongues and eyebrows, shall not be worn”.
Walk the jewellery talk
You cannot expect your staff to comply with a ‘no jewellery’ policy if management and QA are not setting the example. It saves a lot of hassle and conflict to have the same rules for all.
What are the jewellery rules for your food business?
Pay it forward and help your fellow food safety and QA professionals. Please share your current jewellery wearing policy (and your reasoning) or a legislation link relevant to your food business and location. This helps to educate everyone on this issue.