Statistics show that over half of all food-borne illnesses are caused from food consumed at a restaurant; meaning that the use of food services safety gloves are not being utilized properly. When individuals handle food, whether that be in a restaurant or a food or meat processing plant, any bacteria or virus that they are carrying will be directly transmitted via their hands onto the food.
Food service safety is so important for employers and employees to consider because neglecting it could result in legal consequences, not to mention ill and upset patrons and a poor reputation for your business. Here at Your Glove Source (YGS) we want you to be equipped with the knowledge and supplies you need in order to achieve a high level of food service safety in all capacities of handling food.
Why is it important to use gloves in food service?
Combined with regular and thorough hand washing, using gloves in food service related applications will help to maximize your safety and cleanliness. The gloves provide an extra layer and barrier of protection between hands and food.
Believe it or not, consumers play a huge role in the importance of glove use. In all food service areas product safety has become of upmost importance to consumers, and they typically are quite knowledgeable about which companies are handling food safely, and which are not. For restaurants in particular, when customers see employees handling food with gloves, they have a higher sense of security that they will not get sick from the restaurant’s food. Statistics show that up to 77% of consumers would choose a restaurant that utilized gloves, over a restaurant that doesn’t use gloves. When you realize how much the use of gloves affects consumer choice, it should be an easy choice to use gloves in food service.
One of the most important things to remember when using gloves in food service is to not cross-contaminate. Meaning, individuals cannot use one pair of gloves to handle raw meat, cooked meat, and other fresh foods. One pair can be used for handling the raw meat, then after hand-washing a new pair can be used for handling the cooked meat, and so on. Be cautious, smart, and thoughtful when using gloves in food service.
What types of gloves are used in food service?
There are a very wide variety of gloves available for use in food service, which means it is important to be educated and know what type you need. There are three basic criteria that you should look at when choosing a glove to be used in food service:
- Length of time gloves need to be worn for specified task
- Temperature of environment and proximity to heat source during use
- Type of food that will be handled
After assessing these three criteria, you can look at the different materials that food service gloves are made from, and choose accordingly. Here is a list of the most common types of gloves used in food service:
Polyethylene Gloves: Also known as CPE gloves, these gloves are loose fitting and are appropriate for use in light-duty tasks that require gloves to be changed often. These gloves are highly affordable, but lack somewhat in durability because they tend to rip easier and cannot withstand heat as well as other types of gloves.
Vinyl Gloves: These gloves are more durable and closer fitting, which provides increased flexibility and dexterity over CPE type gloves. They are ideal for use in medium-duty food processing or prep and can be used near mild heat sources. Some vinyl gloves even have built in Anti-Microbial properties that kill bacteria on contact and are 100% safe for food handling. Vinyl gloves are also latex free!
Latex Gloves: These types of gloves are super form fitting to the hand and provide ultimate dexterity. If your food prep is delicate and you need maximum dexterity then latex food service gloves may be the right choice. Latex gloves are frequently used in food service and can withstand exposure from moderate to high heat environments.
Nitrile Gloves: Nitrile gloves used for food service have become more and more popular due to latex allergy concerns. These gloves are very form fitting and are ideal for situations that require puncture resistance and a high amount of dexterity. They are also available in a variety of colors that can provide a professional look while maintaining proper protection between hands and food. In particular we have noticed a significant increase in use of black nitrile gloves in the food service industry.
Cut resistant gloves for food service, when they are used and how.
Cut resistant gloves are typically used in food service where large knives or other dangerous machinery is used to process food. If you have ever been to Chipotle or Qdoba or other similar restaurants, you’ve probably seen the chefs in the back slip on a thick metal mesh glove to cut up the chicken or steak. In the fast-paced food service industry, it is important to have these heavy-duty cut resistant gloves to protect the safety of workers and avoid any contamination to food.
There are several different types of cut resistant gloves, which YGS featured on the Glove Knowlegebase a few weeks ago. To learn about the different types of cut resistant gloves and how they are rated, click here.
The most common types of cut resistant gloves used in the food service industry are Dyneema, Kevlar, and Metal Mesh:
Dyneema Cut Resistant Gloves: These gloves are light weight and heavy duty, providing a very high level of cut resistance even when they are wet. Because of their high gut resistance level, these gloves are suitable for a wide range of food preparation and processing.
Kevlar: These gloves are highly flame and heat resistant; they begin to char at 800°F. They can be used in a variety of food preparation environments.
Metal Mesh: These gloves are super strong and provide a high level of cut and puncture protection. They are ideal for meat and poultry processing plants and slaughterhouses. Because of their strength, they can also be readily used in food service environments.
To view YGS’s inventory of cut resistant gloves that are appropriate for use in food service, click here.