Hair Net Laws

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Hair net laws have been implemented by many states and industries to avoid the possible contamination of consumer food products by the workers that are handling them. Hair nets or hair covering is mandatory in food preparation and processing areas. On men, moustaches, beards and other facial hair must also be covered or otherwise shaved off.

A cook in the kitchen of a diner is ready for a new order.
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Hair tends to fall off the body. Being as to how it is virtually weightless and unnoticeable, hair nets are a great prevention method for the horrifying and unwanted “hair in your food” episode most individuals have encountered at least once in their lifetimes. Hair is not only unpleasant to try and pull out of your mouth, it is also considered one of the dirtiest components of the human body because of its ability to pick up and retain dirt and germs.

A hospital food worker prepares tossed green salads.
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While some states such as Georgia have an actual Senate bill (SB 75) passed that make hair covering a mandatory state law, other states simply have health codes that make it mandatory for any individual working with or close to a food preparation area to wear a hair net or other type of hair covering. Workers in any exposed food preparation area must be wearing a hair net at all times or the establishment will be penalized with a health code violation and fine.

An employee in a bottled water plant inspects the products.
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The mandatory wearing of a hair net extends to anyone who comes into the close vicinity of any food products. Hair net laws do not only apply to the food handler. Managers and workers at fast food restaurants and delis who are constantly walking around close to the uncovered food items must also wear a hair net even when not directly handling the food themselves.

An overhead view of a dishwasher in a commercial kitchen.
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Hair nets are not the only mandatory body covering a food worker must wear to meet food safety and health codes. Gloves are an equally essential safety cover required for any food processor or handler, as are coats or aprons. Face masks are also being considered as the next step to avoid possible food contamination and are already being used in most industrial food processing settings.

A chef wears gloves and an apron while zesting a lemon.
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Hair nets are useful in the prevention of contamination from hair directly coming into contact with food. Hair nets also prevent the possible cross-contamination of food products by preventing the food worker from touching his hair and ears which can then transfer germs to the gloves, and then eventually, the food.

A worker in a fish market wears a hair net, gloves, and apron.
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