Sanitary Gloves

While the use of gloves when handling food is not required by state law, it is prohibited to contact exposed, ready-to-eat food with bare hands (FDA Food Code 3-301.11).  Many restaurateurs are finding the addition of gloves to their safety protocol an easier and certainly safer practice when combined with regular hand washing regiments.  Gloves are a quick and easy way to handle food preparation, facilitates quick transition between money transactions, aids spicy food preparation, etc.  Just to be clear, gloves should not replace regular hand washing when handling food.  Hand washing is the first and foremost preventative measure a food worker can do.  But if gloves are to be worn as an added precaution or for one of the aforementioned reasons, which gloves should you choose?

There are many types of gloves on the market today.  Glove materials are often very similar, but made with different benefits.  The below guide may give you a little insight into which glove(s) you should use in your restaurant.

POLY:  Poly gloves are low-cost, loose-fitting gloves for light tasks that require changing gloves often.  They are ideal for making sandwiches, bagging bagels, plating garnish, pizza or taco preparation, silverware wrapping, filling ice cube buckets, food sampling, display case set-up or breakdown.  Poly gloves also come in elbow length sizes which are good for hand-mixing salads, reaching deep into containers, cleaning, etc.  Poly gloves are not good near heat sources as they are relatively thin.

VINYL:  Vinyl gloves are more durable, closer-fitting gloves for food processing and medium-duty food tasks requiring good dexterity and/or sensitivity.  Vinyl gloves are typically latex-free and appropriate for use near low heat sources.  These gloves are ideal when the food you are handling is a little more fragile.  Cracking eggs, plate presentation, grill line work, pizza toppings, etc.  Vinyl gloves are often seen in a blue color to help color-coding and avoid food contamination.  Use blue vinyl gloves to cut and/or prep raw meat, prep seafood, grind meats, trim produce, etc.  Change gloves and wash hands after handling raw meats, poultry and seafood.

LATEX:  Latex gloves are very popular, ultra-formfitting gloves that are used for tasks requiring ultimate dexterity and fingertip sensitivity.  Use these gloves when handling sharp knives, slicing, cutting, prepping, cake/dessert decoration, garnish and platter presentation, etc.  An alternative to latex is synthetic or nitrile.

SYNTHETIC:  Synthetic gloves act and feel similar to latex.  They are form-fitting and can be used for delicate work.  These gloves are ideal for those who are sensitive to latex.  Synthetic gloves often come in a material called Nitrile, which is resistant to snags, abrasions or tears.

When looking for a glove for use in food preparation make sure the glove material is safe for wear and in contact with food, with  good barrier integrity, and the plant where it is manufactured is ISO compliant.  Also, make sure that you buy the correct size glove.  Gloves should have a specific purpose and never be worn continuously.  Also, as previously stated, nothing can substitute hand washing.  For more information on gloves, please contact your Delco Foods Sales Representative.

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