Disposable gloves can help prevent the spread of contamination, when good gloves are used correctly. Otherwise, gloves can provide a false sense of security and actually increase cross-contamination. Find out what gloves work best for your Food Safety plan.
The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of the vital role of hand hygiene and glove management in food safety plans. It highlights the need to incorporate these practices for safety and well-being.
This video will show you how to add a strict glove selection process to your food safety plan post-pandemic. As we know, hand hygiene is vital for both food safety and stopping the spread of contamination.
Our partners at Meritech are hand hygiene experts, and they have a lot of information at meritech.com about the correct way to wash and sanitize your hands.
Gloves & Contamination
One might question, "If I'm already washing my hands, why bother with gloves?" However, it's important to note that wearing dirty gloves over clean hands can reverse the efforts of hand hygiene altogether. Moreover, low-quality gloves can worsen the situation and elevate contamination rates.
“The CDC found that 16% of foodborne illnesses were attributed to disposable gloves”
Precautions need to be taken to handle food with clean, gloved hands.
Gloves Increasing Contamination
Companies should stop purchasing vinyl gloves to improve food and worker safety drastically.
Here are three main reasons why:
- Vinyl gloves have shown failure rates that can be as high as 50%, which is at least ten times higher than the average rate of nitrile gloves.
- Viruses and bacteria can pass through vinyl glove microtears within minutes of use.
- Viruses and bacteria are more easily picked up and spread by vinyl glove surfaces than nitrile gloves.
Gloves used in the food industry are often called "food-grade gloves," but their meaning may differ from what you expect. Manufacturers send a list of ingredients that need approval as safe materials for food contact, and these ingredients are then used to produce the gloves.
It is assumed that only the list of ingredients is used to manufacture the gloves, but no one tests or checks the raw materials. Additionally, there needs to be verification regarding the cleanliness of the factory or whether the gloves were washed with clean water during production.
Food-grade gloves also don’t have any AQL guidelines or the Acceptable Quality Level for the maximum number of pinhole defects per box. In the worst-case scenario, cheaply made food-grade gloves could be dirty, contain harmful chemicals, and be full of tiny holes right out of the box.
Gloves & Food Safety Plans
It is important to understand why it is vital to specify the appropriate and specific glove that should be used within your food safety plan. We recommend using high-quality nitrile gloves to handle food. Not only are they highly durable, but they also offer the best protection by creating an effective barrier against cross-contamination.
An exception to this rule applies to brief food contact (one to two minutes maximum), such as when preparing a sandwich. Polyethylene gloves are the recommended choice.
Latex gloves should not be used for handling food due to potential allergies caused by a protein on the glove's surface.
Specifying Food-Safe Gloves
High-quality nitrile gloves are made with superior ingredients in clean factories with good manufacturing practices, but this can be difficult to know from a consumer's perspective.
We recommend sourcing from a supplier with programs that minimize this risk. For example, upon the arrival of our gloves, a meticulous proprietary Delta Zero glove analysis is executed to ensure their cleanliness, are composed of premium ingredients and are free from harmful chemicals.