First, you should know what to do if you notice that a food employee has a cut or wound. Report it to the manager and use a single-use glove. If you feel that the cut is infected, you should cover it with a clean bandage. If you suspect that the food employee has contracted an infection, report it to the manager as soon as possible. You should also notify the health department.


Food safety laws require employees to know and understand the risks associated with foodborne illness. The workplace can become infected by uncontrolled risk factors, including the presence of a pathogen that may cause illness. An employee may be excluded from working in an establishment with certain risk factors, including areas where food is received, prepared, stored, and packaged. Employees who are restricted from working in these areas cannot handle exposed food, clean equipment, linens, or single-service articles.

Examples of food employees may be excluded from their gross income. Employees may deduct the value of meals they receive during work hours. If the meals are free or heavily discounted, they can be deducted from gross income. Similarly, employees may deduct the value of meals they receive from their employers during their working hours, as long as they are provided for a business purpose. However, the value of meals served at the restaurant during a workday must be a qualified employee discount, otherwise, it is subject to taxes.


The PIC has the authority to exclude or restrict a food employee from working at a facility in the event that the person has a history of foodborne illness. This restriction applies to food employees who may have an atypical or uncontrollable risk of transmitting disease. A food employee may be restricted from working in the food establishment if they are a suspected shedder of E. coli O157:H7 or Shigella spp.

If an employee becomes ill, managers must restrict him or her from working in the facility until the condition improves. Then, the manager should provide a training session on the hazards of foodborne illness, proper handwashing procedures, and prevention of bare hands touching RTE foods. The employee should also be told how long the restriction is valid and can be lifted. Managers should make it clear that a food employee will be restricted for at least 30 days. If an employee does not recover, the manager should remove the food employee. The employee may be ill, but the company cannot afford to lose him or her due to foodborne illness.

Jewelry is another concern. Food employees may not wear jewelry on their arms unless it is medically necessary or has religious significance. However, religious bracelets and plain style band rings are acceptable. Jewelry may not be worn under gloves, but it must be kept out of the way when working in a food establishment. Employees with acrylic fingernails should use single-use gloves or wear disposable aprons. The nails must be free of polish or lotion.

Reporting symptoms of a foodborne illness

It’s important for you to understand your legal obligations regarding reporting symptoms of a foodborne illness to oh so-called “Big 5” infections. The “Big 5” are five common foodborne pathogens that can cause serious illnesses and are known to cause gastrointestinal distress. These infections include Shigella, E. coli, Salmonella, Norovirus, and Hepatitis A. If you have been exposed to one of these illnesses, you must report your symptoms to the manager immediately. You must also avoid spreading your symptoms to others.

One common symptom of Hepatitis A is yellowing of the skin or mucous membranes. If you see this in any food employee, report it to the manager as soon as possible. If the symptoms are serious, such as a fever, you should not work in the food service industry until you have been cleared by the local health department. If you have a wound that is infected with a bacterium, make sure to bandage it.

It’s also important to discuss with employees the importance of reporting symptoms. Posters on the walls can be helpful reminders that remind employees to report symptoms at the first sign of illness. It’s also important to tell employees to report their symptoms away from the food and before their shift. If you want to be more thorough, you can even create a “food employee illness poster” for your business.