What disposable gloves are food safe?

On 7 April 2020, FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the World Health Organization (WHO) released《COVID-19 and Food Safety: Guidance for Food Businesses

What are Food grade Gloves? Food grade gloves are certified under FDA Title 21 CFR Part 177, which states that the components of the glove must comply with the FDA regulations and consist of “Substances generally recognized as safe for use in food or food packaging. ”The key to food hygiene is the HACCP concept (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), which follows the precautionary principle.

Wearing gloves when preparing RTE foods is critically important to reducing foodborne illness. “The spread of germs from the hands of food workers to food is an important cause of foodborne illness outbreaks in restaurants and accounts for 89% of outbreaks.”

Food-grade gloves contain materials that are generally considered safe for use with food and food packaging. Many types of gloves fit this description. Polyethylene, latex, vinyl, and nitrile are all appropriate materials for food prep gloves. This is good to know because these are the most popular glove materials on the market, so they should be pretty easy to find.

TPE gloves Vinyl Gloves
Nitrile gloves
Synthetic Gloves

Disposable Latex-Gloves Powder Free
PE Gloves
Latex Gloves

Food gloves are often referred to as multi-purpose gloves and are designed for short-term use that requires frequent replacement. As food good-grades must pass the food grade contact safety material test, they must have the relevant food grade certificate, such as the SGS company food-grade gloves test certificate. Testing institutions are also required to carry out tests by relevant national standards. Latex and nitrile food gloves shall comply with the requirements of "National Standard of Food Safety for Food Contact Rubber Materials and Products", while PVC and PE food gloves shall comply with the requirements of "National Standard of Food Safety for Food Contact Plastic Materials and Products".

In the guide, there are clear requirements for food workers to wear Disposable gloves, the details are as follows:

  • 1. Food workers have to use gloves, but they must be changed frequently and must wash their hands after removing gloves when changing them. Gloves must be replaced after non-food-related activities such as opening/closing doors by hand and emptying bins.
  • 2. Food workers should be aware that wearing gloves can allow bacteria to build upon the surface of the hand, so it is extremely important to wash your hands when removing gloves to avoid subsequent contamination of food. Food workers should avoid touching their mouths and eyes when wearing gloves.
  • 3. The use of disposable gloves is not a substitute for handwashing in food work environments. The COVID-19 virus can contaminate disposable gloves, just as it can contaminate workers' hands. Removing disposable gloves can cause hand contamination.
  • 4. Wearing disposable gloves can give a false sense of security and may lead to workers not washing their hands as often as required.
  • 5. Washing hands is better at preventing infection than wearing disposable gloves. Food businesses need to ensure adequate sanitation is available and that food workers wash their hands thoroughly and frequently. Wash your hands with plain soap and warm water. Hand sanitizers can be used as an additional measure, but should not replace hand washing.

So what kind of food that you can't touch with your hands requires disposable gloves? Make fresh fruit and vegetable ingredients, salads and salad toppings, cold meats and sandwiches, bread, toast, etc. Meat that needs to be heated at high temperatures can be touched directly. Any contact with food or processed food must be tested and certified before it can be used in the food industry!


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