Gloves hold a special identity as a part of the ‘Food Handler’s Protective Clothing Kit’. With the advent of ‘Food Safety’ they are used profusely in the food industry today. Restaurant production and service staff, Employees from manufacturing units and Retail processors too, use surplus amounts of gloves. Food quality personnel often render training and focus on appropriate use of gloves. However, they have not been accepted by the food handlers completely. Moreover their use has been enforced in food work environments to ensure product safety majorly; in turn diluting the factors affecting food handler hygiene and safety.
Today ‘Gloves’ have become a symbol of Food Safety, however with a false sense of security. Use of gloves is not the only and safest way to protect food from being contaminated. ‘Glove Abuse’ can pose serious food related concerns and also interfere with employee hygiene and welfare initiatives. The objective of this article is to introduce food handlers to the concept of appropriate storage, usage, selection while handling critical products and disposal of gloves.
- Use appropriate clean gloves to handle specific foods
- Use gloves to create barrier between painted nails / stone studded finger rings /cuts & wounds dressings; and food products
- Do not use body lotions or powder talc’s on moist skin before wearing gloves
- Prevent excessive sweating by usage of gloves exhibiting the property of heat dissipation
- Choose a non-reactive glove make to ensure no migration of chemicals into the products
- Gloves are no ‘Permanent Solution’ to Hand Hygiene
- Inappropriate Storage, Handling and Disposal of gloves can lead to Food contamination and Spreading of Food Borne Diseases and Skin Infections
- Store gloves in their original packaging or as recommended into clean and sanitized dedicated dispensers.
- Store in clean and dry atmosphere.
- Do not store gloves in unattended areas, left open on food contact surfaces or in places where spillage or aerosols of liquids, leakages and / or piled under dirty miscellaneous objects.
- Do not mix dirty and unused clean / treated gloves.
- Keep superfluous stocks appropriately covered and away from any kindly of contamination.
- Wash, Sanitize and Air Dry re-usable gloves. Never re-use disposable gloves.
Types of Gloves
- Different types / makes of gloves are used in the food industry today. Gloves are manufactured using Polypropylene, Poly Vinyl Chloride, Nitrile, Natural Rubber Latex and Polyurethane. Cotton and padded gloves are used in the bakery and while handling the microwave. Cut resistant gloves are either made of metal or have spotting which do not allow the knife penetrate into the food handlers hand.
- Polypropylene gloves are least expensive, easily torn and can have built-in-antimicrobial compounds.
- Vinyl gloves are resistant to ozone and oil; and can be used around heat sources.
- Nitrile gloves are less elastic, abrasion proof, puncture resistant and significantly more durable. They may have little chemical additives and no proteins
- Latex or chemical additives may result in hypersensitive reactions amongst users.
- Polyurethane gloves are free from chemical additives
- When selecting gloves, important features to review are: break and abrasion resistance, durability, elasticity and resilience, tactile sensitivity and heat dissipation. Do not mix dirty and unused clean / treated gloves.
- Foods handlers shall always ensure that they have washed and sanitized their hands effectively before and after using gloves.
- Gloves shall never replace hand washing.
- Ensure that your hands are perfectly dry before wearing gloves.
- Remove one glove at a time from the dispenser; without touching any food, body parts, uniform, dirty dusters, equipments or food contact surfaces.
- Ensure the glove dispensed is of correct size and type in order to suit the work requirements, clean and appropriate for the task to be performed.
- Ensure that the dispensed glove is clean, not torn or damaged.
- Wear gloves while handling soiled perishables, untreated raw materials, handling cold preparations, minimal treated / rare cooked products.
- Change gloves
- After they become soiled
- After they get cut accidentally or are damaged
- After every four hours when in continuous usage doing the same work
- After every activity and before start of new activity
- Between handling of non-vegetarian and vegetarian items
- Between handling of raw and semi processed and ready to eat food products
- Before and after breaks from work
- After using the restroom
- After touching sweaty body parts, soiled objects accidentally
- Do not handle miscellaneous objects like waste bin covers, money, coupons, KOT paper rolls / function prospects / special instructions / notices, soiled equipments, used dusters etc. after wearing fresh pair of gloves.
- Remove gloves by grasping them at the cuff and peeling them off inside out over the fingers while avoiding contact with the palm and fingers.
- Discard gloves in the dedicated waste bin and ensure appropriate hand washing. Do not litter.