You don’t often think about a butcher as a defacto contamination control expert, but in many ways, that’s exactly what their role is. 

Butchers spend all day working with food that can quickly spoil and contaminate their entire preparation area, so they have to be incredibly cautious about how they handle their produce. To control bacteria, they must use tools such as colour-coded chopping boards, biohazard rubbish sacks and strong disinfectants. 

One of the best ways they can keep bacteria contained is by wearing the correct uniform, and you’d be surprised about all of the ways a butcher’s uniform can keep them safe. This article outlines the most appropriate clothing for butchers and even explains the history behind where the striped butchers apron originated.

What should a butcher wear to work?

Any butcher needs to wear a uniform that makes sure their products remain free from contamination. Therefore any clothing needs to provide a protective barrier between the butcher’s body and fluids from the produce they prepare. 

Butchers tend to prioritise breathable garments to keep cool, with a waterproof apron on top that provides an easy wipe-clean surface to get rid of bacteria. 

A typical butcher’s uniform consists of a mesh trilby hat, coat, apron, trousers, shoes and gloves.

Mesh trilby hat

A hat is an essential item of any butchers uniform because it prevents stray hairs from falling into food and absorbs sweat from dripping onto surfaces. A mesh trilby hat is the standard for food handlers because the mesh keeps the wearer’s head cool, and the hat’s Teflon coating ensures it repels stains.

Striped Butcher’s Coat

The butcher’s coat is an iconic symbol of the profession, and no butcher would be complete without it. Due to its length, the coat protects the shoulders to the knees and arms to stop stray body hairs from reaching food or fluids contaminating the wearer’s skin. Crucially, the coat signifies the wearer’s role to build trust with any customers the butcher serves.

Butcher’s apron

Another iconic element of the butchers uniform is the bib apron. This is a full-length apron designed to cover the coat and trousers. Butchers wear it when they carve meat to control the spread of bacterial to more absorbent clothing. Bib aprons are usually waterproof and wipe clean and a complementary colour to the coat and trousers to create a professional look.

Alexandra’s butcher’s apron is made to be practical and durable. It’s PU coated and made from polyester/cotton fabric to aid its water resistance and ability to be easily cleaned. It’s also comfortable with a self-fabric neck halter and a white tape waist tie that allows you to get the perfect fit.

Gloves

Any butcher needs suitable gloves to make sure they keep their products free from contamination when handling them. Special food handling PVC gloves feature a low linting nylon shell to minimise the risk of materials being shed from the gloves and ending up in food. At the same time, their soft and seamless construction provides wearer comfort in a range of sizes to ensure a secure, snug fit. 

What are the colours of a traditional butchers apron?

A traditional butcher’s apron is blue, and the design came from York, England, in 1540. This colour was used to let everyone know that someone was a registered butcher, and the meat they butchered, was of a certain quality. During this period, butchers had to wear the uniform of a hat, coat and apron, and if anyone else was caught imitating a butcher, they could be punished by law.

Centuries later, the butchers uniform from the 1540s remains unchanged, and the typical uniform is still a hat, coat, and blue apron. While there are a few more options in terms of stripes and colours, butchers don’t have a wide variety of uniform options to choose from. 

As long as a butcher chooses a sensible uniform that is easy to wipe clean and prevents them from spreading contaminants, they stand to keep themselves, their products and their customers safe throughout the working day.

Browse Alexandra’s full range of butchers uniforms, including trousers and butchers apron.