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Foodservice Foodhandling Gloves | Ecolab Food Safety Solutions

Love-Hate Relationship

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, gloves are here to stay. How can a simple product with a seemingly important purpose still create such controversy and lack of understanding on how to use them properly?


I was observing the goings on in an open kitchen one afternoon, and the chefs all donned disposable gloves. At a customer’s first glance, there is a feeling of security, that foods are protected during preparation and serving. However, as time passed and gloves stayed on the same hands, the warm, fuzzy feelings dissolved. One chef glugged a sports drink from a wide-necked bottle. A second food worker was constantly munching on something, and the third was covered with a white powder on her black apron from wiping her gloves in between tasks.


According to the FDA Food Code, bare hand contact is prohibited with handling cooked or ready-to-eat foods. Wearing single-use gloves is one acceptable barrier for this. However, without developing good habits on changing gloves when dirty or in between tasks, the gloves become sources of contaminations themselves.


If possible, try to assign staff to a single task, to minimize the necessity of glove changes. But because that's not always practical in every food operation, here are some basic glove rules to review and review with staff until they become second nature, as natural as breathing.

Change gloves:


By Cindy Rice, FS, CP-FS, MSPH