How to Dress to Work in a Food Processing Plant

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You think you have that great job you interviewed for, but as you wait for the final thumbs-up you're beginning to wonder. Just how does one dress to work in a food processing plant? Facilities that handle food have very strict rules to meet government standards, and you will have to adhere to a dress code to land and maintain that position. As long as you keep in mind the concept of outside contaminants you'll have no problem dressing for work.

  • Contact the human resources department of the food processing plant before you go shopping for work clothes. The people there will be able to tell you the plant dress code and let you know whether the plant supplies uniforms for daily wear. Often a food processing plant will contract out to a laundry service to deliver smocks and slacks; employees change from their street clothes upon entering the facility. Sometimes you are required to have a pair of "work" shoes that are not worn outside the plant.

  • Ask a friend or acquaintance who works at the plant what the clothing requirements are, or ask an employee outside the facility during shift change. Many times a food processing plant will allow very casual dress such as jeans and a shirt as long as the clothing is clean and neat; the clothing will be covered by a cloth or disposable smock or overalls once you begin your shift.

  • Remove all jewelry when you work for a place that handles food. The plant will be concerned that an earring might fall into a sterile area and cause contamination or that a chain or ring will become tangled in machinery and cause injury.

  • Wear safety shoes when working in a food processing plant. This type of footwear has metal toe covers built in to protect your feet in case a heavy object lands on your toes. Often a facility will offer an allowance for purchasing safety shoes, and many will have a shoe vendor visit the premises for employee convenience.

  • Refrain from wearing artificial fingernails, again because of concern about contamination. A single lost nail tip can cause the loss of an entire batch of food if not located, as the company will be found liable if the nail tip has entered the food chain.

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