Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb – better known as “The Bee Gees.” Aside from being brothers and 70s disco icons, what else do these men have in common? They grew some really awesome beards.  

According to the popular men’s magazine GQ, beards are all the rage right now. With popular Tumblr sites like “The Bearded” dedicated to men with facial hair, and fun fads like beard ornaments and beard glitter, it truly is “The Year of the Beard.”

So, what does all of this “Jive Talkin'” about beards have to do with school nutrition? Well, as of April 2015, new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations have been put in place for men with beards who handle food. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to start incorporating the “BG’s” into your school nutrition program – beard guards.

Beard Fever


In the ‘Personnel’ provisions of the Department of Health and Human Services Code of Federal Regulations, Section 110.10 B6 reads:

“…Wearing, where appropriate, in an effective manner, hair nets, headbands, caps, beard covers, or other effective hair restraints.”

That’s right; no longer are ladies the only ones “netting up” before serving food to hungry kiddos. Men with facial hair are also required to rock beard nets, or as our English friends call them, “beard snoods.”

In many U.S. cities, like Chicago, public health departments require all food handlers to utilize “effective hair restraints to confine hair”. But what if it’s just a short beard? And how long is too long? Cristina Villarreal, spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Public Health, told DNAinfo that health inspectors “use their discretion as to what is actually going to fall into food.”

News station KOAT Albuquerque reported that microbiologist John Golobic conducted an experiment by testing swabs from a handful of men’s beards. He found that some beards contain just as much bacteria as a toilet seat. His findings further supported the idea that wearing a beard net during the preparation and handling of food is just as crucial to reducing the spread of germs as washing one’s hands or wearing gloves.

Men of the kitchen, it is important to remember “the Bee Gees” if you have facial hair. “How Deep is Your Love” for your beard? There’s no need to shave it off in order to prevent the spread of germs! But if you’re “More Than a Woman”, and you don’t want to give your kids “Saturday Night Fever”, you can keep “Stayin’ Alive” by using these tips for complying with the new FDA standards.

  • Keep facial hair clean and trimmed, and put on a clean beard net each time you are handling food.
  • Avoid touching your face or beard as much as possible.
  • Keep a hefty supply of beard nets on hand in the kitchen and serving area.

Feel free to channel your inner Bee Gee in the kitchen or serving line! Just remember to practice good personal hygiene and rock the beard net.