Food Safety Regulations: Is Wearing a Protective Hat Mandatory for Cafe Workers in the UK?

Food safety is a critical aspect of any food service establishment, and it’s no different in the United Kingdom. One of the most common questions that arise in this context is whether it’s mandatory for cafe workers in the UK to wear a protective hat while preparing food. This article aims to provide a comprehensive answer to this question, delving into the specifics of food safety regulations in the UK.

Understanding Food Safety Regulations in the UK

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is the body responsible for food safety and hygiene across the UK. It sets out the regulations that all food businesses, including cafes, must follow to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their customers. However, these regulations do not explicitly state that wearing a protective hat is mandatory for cafe workers.

What Does the Law Say?

According to the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006, all food handlers must maintain a high level of personal cleanliness and wear suitable, clean, and where necessary, protective clothing. While the law does not specifically mention the use of hats, it does imply that any measure that can prevent the contamination of food should be taken. This can be interpreted to include wearing a hat, especially when handling or preparing food.

Best Practices in Food Hygiene

Even though it’s not explicitly stated in the law, many cafes in the UK choose to implement the use of hats as a best practice. This is because hair can be a source of both microbial and physical contamination. Therefore, wearing a hat can significantly reduce the risk of food contamination, especially in a busy cafe environment.

What Other Measures Can Be Taken?

Aside from wearing a hat, there are several other measures that cafe workers can take to ensure food safety. These include:

  • Regular hand washing, especially before handling food
  • Using gloves when handling ready-to-eat food
  • Keeping work areas clean and sanitized
  • Storing food at the correct temperatures
  • Regularly checking and recording food temperatures


In conclusion, while it’s not explicitly required by law for cafe workers in the UK to wear a protective hat, it is a recommended best practice. It’s part of a broader commitment to maintaining high standards of food hygiene and safety, which is essential for any food service establishment. Therefore, it’s advisable for cafe workers to wear a hat or hairnet when preparing food, not just to comply with the regulations, but also to ensure the safety and satisfaction of their customers.