Why do we wear hairnets?

Hairnet hair restraint food

 

Seriously though, it’s hard to find research that actually correlates food safety with effective hair restraint. While the food code states:

Consumers are particularly sensitive to food contaminated by hair. Hair can  be both a direct and indirect vehicle of contamination. Food employees may contaminate their hands when they touch their hair. A hair restraint keeps dislodged hair from ending up in the food and may deter employees from touching their hair.

There’s no actual scientific literature referenced however, nor any outbreak where hair was specifically implicated, though that would be under general hygiene and contamination from food service workers as root cause. Most telling is the fact that FDA first states that it is a consumer issue rather than a contamination one. If contamination from hair were such a proven issue, hair restraints would be required for arm hair, eyebrows, and any other situation in which it poses a threat.

But fear not, some research does exist that provides a better link between hair restraint and food safety. Behold, from 1965:

 

Pathogens found on human hair
http://jcp.bmj.com/content/jclinpath/18/1/13.full.pdf

 

So…wow. Granted these hair samples included nose hair (where’s that hair restraint requirement?) and were collected from patients and hospital staff, but it’s still pretty compelling! While the study focused on hospital acquired infections and included lots of those organisms, S. aureus and E. coli made their appearances and are obviously potential pathogens if introduced to food and allowed to propagate.

I’ve never seen this data referenced before and it’s a nice resource when explaining why hairnets are a thing even in environments where hair is unlikely to get into the product.

hairnet kayak
You can never be too careful. Plus, hairnets make you look cool.

The list of found pathogens illustrates my point made in the comic, humans are gross up close. Keep your body parts out of the food whenever possible, and wear your damn hairnet.

Bonus comic panel for those who read this far:

 

Summers, Margaret M., P. F. Lynch, and T. Black. “Hair as a reservoir of staphylococci.” Journal of clinical pathology 18.1 (1965): 13-15.

US Food and Drug Administration. “Food code 2013.” US Food and Drug Administration, College Park, MD (2013).

Eliminating Listeria in your Facility…the musical

Listeria monocytogenes on oxford agar
L. monocytogenes on Oxford Agar. Source: wikipedia commons author Nathan Reading

So I know that all of you who subscribe to Fur, Farm, and Fork do so for the meticulously researched analysis of food safety and regulatory issues.

So… here’s a Rihanna song parody about eliminating Listeria from a food plant!

…it was fun. And this is my site so I can do what I want.

If you want to listen to someone  sing it, download the mp3 here.

Lyrics below, basically covering where Listeria can be found in the food plant enjoy!

 Listeria (Disturbia Parody)

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

 

[what did we find

I didn’t expect this

What are we gonna do now]

 

What do these results mean

(presumptive positive)

Near the wall, near the sink

(where there was standing water)

Right where we process cream

(and products ready-to-eat)

Get the QA team together

 

It’s a sneaky microbe

Riding on your shoes

It can grow in the cold

Where it eludes you

A poison in your food

And it can end you

It’s too close for comfort

 

Let’s tear this room apart

We need to swab every square foot

Then the spare parts

We can get to the cause root

Use those trending charts

Why didn’t we catch this last year

It’s not in the product, we swear

 

But we just found Listeria

All the product’s been retained

Listeria

Biofilms in our drains

Listeria

Might be from the supply chain

Listeria

Listeria

 

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

 

Condensate drips from the walls

(we can’t see from where it comes)

These concrete cracks aren’t that small

(The floors are twenty years old)

We need some new grout

Old equipment thrown out

It’s too close for comfort

 

It’s a sneaky microbe

Riding on your shoes

It can grow in the cold

Where it eludes you

A poison in your food

And it can end you

It could be anywhere

 

Let’s tear this room apart

We need to swab every square foot

Then the spare parts

We can get to the cause root

Use those trending charts

Why didn’t we catch this last year

It’s not in the product, we swear

 

But we just found Listeria

All the product’s been retained

Listeria

Biofilms in our drains

Listeria

Might be from the supply chain

Listeria

Listeria

 

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

 

Risk assessments are now change-in

Zero tolerance And we’re jumpin-in

We didn’t no, oh, oh

Grab your swabs and let’s go oh oh

 

Let’s tear this room apart

We need to swab every square foot

Then the spare parts

We can get to the cause root

Use those trending charts

Why didn’t we catch this last year

It’s not in the product, we swear

 

But we just found Listeria

All the product’s been retained

Listeria

Biofilms in our drains

Listeria

Might be from the supply chain

Listeria

Listeria

 

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

Bum Bum bio bum bum bio-film

 


Inspired by various warning letters at companies associated with outbreaks of Listeria monocytogenes. Original song performed by Rihanna, music composed by Robert Allen, Chris Brown, Andre Darrell Merritt, and Brian Kennedy Seals. Instrumental background sourced from www.karaoke-version.com.

This media file may contain copyrighted material that qualifies as fair use under the Copyright act of 1976. 17 U.S.C. Section 107. See Campbell vs. Acuff-Rose Music (92-1292), 510 US 569