Proper use of quality, single-use gloves significantly lowers the risk of foodborne illness. Gloves deliver an added level of protection and provide a visual cue to customers that the establishment cares about their well being.
When to Glove: The debate on when to glove continues to create confusion at operations level. Here is the FDA position on gloving:
The 2001 FDA Food Code, section 3-301.11 states- "Except when washing fruits and vegetables, food employees may not contact exposed ready to eat food with their bare hands and shall use suitable utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, single use gloves, or dispensing equipment". Food workers wearing artificial nails, fingernail polish, or who have a bandage, infection, cut or sore on the hand must wear disposable gloves when handling food. Disposable food contact gloves are not designed for use in handling extremely hot foods, utensils, nor cooking equipment. Extended exposure of any disposable glove to heat or flame may cause deterioration of the product.
Handwashing For Life Recommends:
When wearing gloves it is critical to insure that employees properly wash their hands both before donning gloves and immediately on removal of gloves, known as doffing. Pathogens thrive in the warm, moist atmosphere created on a gloved hand.
The glove selection process checklist:
Select supplier with food safety experience and a commitment to the food industry
Look for third party certifications.
- Document procedure for food workers (when to use, when to remove, how and where to use). See FDA code above.
Choose glove style & material to fit task
Form fit: for high dexterity (vinyl, latex, synthetic)
Loose fit: for frequent changes (poly)
- Choose proper sizes for your staff. Glove Fitment Guide.
- Test gloves for ease of use (easy open, powder interior?).
- Develop a disposal plan for used gloves.