Food Digest - November 2016


November 2016



Food Digest is a quarterly newsletter written by inspectors from your local health department to support and educate Hennepin County food facility owners and managers about food safety in accordance with the Minnesota Food Code 4626.

Minnesota Certified Food Manager


One employee in each establishment must have a current Certified Food Manager certificate. This must be posted conspicuously on-site in accordance with the Minnesota Food Code. To look up a Certified Food Manager, you can visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s website.


We welcome comments or ideas about our newsletter. 

Hannah Marschinke

Amy Zagar

Glove use

hand washing

Disposable plastic gloves can be an easy way to comply with the “no bare hands” rule for handling and serving ready-to-eat foods (see section from Hennepin County Ordinance below). But their improper use can just as easily defeat their purpose. Improper glove use can occur many ways, some more critical than others. 

From raw meat to ready-to-eat -- Cross contamination can occur when gloves are not switched out while working with both raw and ready-to-eat foods.  It is critical that gloves are changed when going from handling raw meat and other potentially hazardous foods to handling ready-to-eat foods.  Not doing this could result in restaurant patrons becoming ill due to a food borne illness. 

Gloves on, discard, repeat – Even when doing a seemingly safe task repeatedly, gloves still should be changed out frequently, a fact many forget. A clean glove at the beginning of a work shift does stay clean until the end.  Touching one’s face, hair, unclean surfaces or going to the bathroom make gloves unclean. The frequent changing of gloves guards against the transfer of germs to food.

As clean as the hand that puts it on -- Another common mistake occurs when people don’t wash their hands before and between wearing gloves. Gloves do not replace hand washing. Hands should still be washed at regular intervals throughout the day so they’re always clean when picking up and putting on fresh gloves.

Hennepin County Ordinance 3:


7.1 Standards Adopted. This Ordinance incorporates by reference the provisions of Minnesota Rules, Chapters 4626.0010 through 4626.2025, excluding 4626.1715 subpart B, 4626.1720 subpart B, and 4626.1755 through 4626.1780, and all subsequent recodifications and amendments, and specifically adopts the following additional standards pursuant to Minnesota Statute, Section 145A.05, subdivision 1:

B. Minnesota Rules, Chapter 4626.0225 PREVENTING CONTAMINATION FROM HANDS.

1. Food employees shall wash their hands as specified in part 4626.0070. 

2. Food employees shall not contact exposed ready-to-eat food with their bare hands and shall use suitable utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, single-use gloves, or dispensing equipment except;

(a) When washing fruits and vegetables as specified in part 4626.0255,


(b) When otherwise approved by the Health Authority. The Health Authority shall not approve alternatives in those establishments serving highly susceptible populations.

3. Food employees shall minimize bare hand and arm contact with food that is not in a ready-to-eat form.

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Handwashing and hand sanitizers

hand washing

Handwashing with soap and water is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses - the major causes of food-borne illness. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are effective in killing bacteria and some viruses on clean hands. However, sanitizers may not be used instead of handwashing by food service employees.

Why can’t hand sanitizers be used instead of handwashing in food service settings?

The hands of food workers are often wet and often contaminated with fatty material or with food high in proteins. The presence of water, food, fatty materials, feces and blood on the hands can significantly reduce the effectiveness of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Viruses such as norovirus are also a concern in food service settings. Norovirus is the leading cause of food-borne outbreaks. Hand sanitizers do not kill norovirus.
Washing with soap and water is the most effective way to remove the types of pathogens that foodworkers have on their hands. In order for hand sanitizers to work properly, hands must first be washed with soap, rinsed with running water and completely dried.
The Minnesota Food Code requires handwashing with soap and water in food service establishments.

When can hand sanitizers be used in a food service setting?

The FDA Food Code and the Minnesota Food Code allow the use of hand sanitizers by food workers after proper handwashing.

Can food establishments provide hand sanitizers for customers?

Food service establishments may provide hand sanitizers for use by the public, in addition to proper handwashing facilities.

NOTE: Your employee hygiene policy should include handwashing procedures, plus guidelines for hand sanitizer use, and exclusion of foodworkers who have symptoms of diarrhea and/or vomiting.

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Web resources

Visit for information on:

  • General environmental health
  • Basic food safety classes
  • Temporary food stand licensing
  • Food license information, categories, and fee schedule
  • New construction or remodeling application

Radon information and test kits 

Septic system requirements and procedures

Body art licensing information (tattooing and piercing) 

Beaches in Hennepin County

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