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A food handler is a person with any job that requires them to handle unpackaged foods or beverages. Food handlers may be involved in preparing, inspecting or even packaging food and beverage items. All food handlers are required to use proper hygiene and sanitation methods when working with food, however different food handling jobs require different duties.
The food manufacturer type of food handler is responsible for the manufacture or preparation of food or beverages in a factory setting. A food handler of this type may be employed to add sacks of sugar to candy vats or operate a machine that cracks walnut shells to remove the kernels. The specific duties and job description of a food handler in the industry of manufacturing is determined by the food that is being produced or manufactured.
In the food industry, another type of food handler employed at a factory that has direct contact with unpackaged food is the team of food handlers employed to package the products. The packaging food handler will hold the product in clean or gloved hands and wrap or place the food product into protective packaging to prevent the food from becoming stale, growing mold or being exposed to germs and bacteria during transportation of the product from the factory to consumers.
Cooks are the food handlers responsible for preparing food in a restaurant setting. Cooks mix various foods together to create different flavors and dishes to delight and sustain their customers. Cooks will be required to follow health standards of handling food and keeping their cooking areas clean and bacteria-free. In addition to these responsibilities, a cook must be open to suggestions or special requests from customers.
Wait staff are another type of food handler. The job of waiter or server requires an individual to handle a customer’s food indirectly and transport the dish from the kitchen area to the customer’s table. While waiters and servers do not always directly touch the food they are transporting, they still are required to follow rules and regulations of other food handlers.
A food inspector may handle and observe food dishes to determine if the food is safe for consumption by public consumers. A food inspector also may observe the cleanliness of the kitchen or preparation area in a factory to check for conditions, such as pests, that may make the food unsafe.