Food handlers requirements to report medical conditions

There are strict rules relating to the preparation of food. The purpose of the rules is to ensure a high level of consumer protection with regard to food safety. The rules are contained in Regulation 852/2004 of the European Parliament and Council on the hygiene of foodstuffs.

What do the rules say?

The rules say that where a person is suffering from, or carrying a disease which is likely to be transmitted through food or where a person is afflicted, for example, with infected wounds, skin infections, sores or diarrhoea, that person is prohibited from handling food or entering into any food-handling area in any capacity if there is any likelihood of direct or indirect contamination.  

The rules also say that where a person employed in a food business and is likely to come into contact with food is so affected that they are required to report immediately the illness or symptoms, and if possible their causes, to the food business operator.

Do the rules apply to all food businesses?

The rules relate to all food businesses other than those engaged in primary production and associated operations, for example farmers and growers.

Who do the rules apply to?

The rules apply to anyone who handles or touches food or who touches surfaces in rooms when food is handled for a food business other than those businesses who are engaged in primary production and associated operations. This will include employees of a food business and agency workers. Such persons are commonly known as “food handlers”. However, the rules also apply to managers, cleaners, and any contractors and inspectors who enter into a room where food is kept or being prepared or processed. 

Administrative or office staff employed by or who work for a food business will not be covered by the rules as long as they don’t enter the rooms in which food is handled or stored.

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For more information on:

  • The rules set out specific examples of diseases and afflictions which must be reported. Are these the only diseases that need to be reported?
  • What if I am unsure whether I am suffering from a disease or affliction which I am required to report?