Sponsored by DayMark
Gloves have become an increasingly important tool to enable foodservice workers to better protect consumer health.
Not all gloves are created equal, however, and proper use and training are important to their efficacy. In addition, with recommendations calling for the frequent replacement of gloves during use, and the cost of gloves rising rapidly amid increased demand, it’s more important than ever for operators to take a closer look at this element of their restaurants.
“Demand for disposable gloves has skyrocketed,” which presents challenges to operators seeking to maintain viable prepared-foods offerings, says AJ Haas, category manager of Food Safety Tech at DayMark Safety Systems. “Finding and securing a large enough inventory of disposable gloves is a major challenge when it comes to staying safe and staying open.”
A typical foodservice worker could easily go through five pairs of disposable gloves each shift, if they are used according to safety recommendations. But operators have alternatives that can both better protect consumers and optimize the return on investment.
Stopping Microbial Spread
SafetyApplied Antimicrobial Gloves by DayMark® feature a Microban® antimicrobial fabric that helps stop the spread of bacteria. The gloves are made of a breathable, lightweight 13-gauge knit fabric that provides dexterity to perform everyday tasks, and even has touchscreen capability in the index and thumb fingertips to facilitate the use of POS touchscreens and smart devices. The gloves are machine washable, which facilitates reuse to minimize costs.
“Reusable antimicrobial gloves give stores the ability to keep the disposable gloves in the back-of-the-house—where they are essential—while boosting the front-of-the-house staff’s ability to keep themselves and customers safe from potentially harmful germs,” says Haas.
Microban®, a global specialist in antimicrobial technologies, is widely used in many healthcare, foodservice, manufacturing and consumer product applications. The technology, which is built into the products in which it is used, works by disrupting the biological functions of contaminating microbes, preventing them from growing or reproducing.
“Foodservice products enhanced with Microban® technologies have an added layer of protection against the growth of bacteria that is active 24/7, for the life of the product,” Microban® says on its website. “These technologies result in an up to 99.9% reduction in bacteria on food contact surfaces, providing added defense against the lapses in performance that are known to be part of the food journey.”
In addition to the SafetyApplied Antimicrobial Gloves for routine food handling, DayMark also offers the CRG 5.2 Antimicrobial Cut Resistant Glove for use during food prep involving knives or other sharp-edged equipment. These machine-washable gloves feature 13-gauge seamless construction, high-performance synthetic fibers and reinforced knitting in key strike areas for enhanced cut protection.
Both lines of gloves are made in the U.S. and offer extreme comfort and fit, which helps ensure their proper use.
Guidelines for Gloves in Foodservice
Training in the use of gloves is also important, says Janilyn Hutchings, a certified food safety professional at StateFoodSafety, which develops and publishes technology-enhanced food-safety certification and training programs.
“When used correctly, gloves can be a great tool for keeping food from becoming contaminated during preparation,” she says.
Hutchings notes that the FDA’s Food Code allows food workers to wear cloth gloves while working with food that will be cooked, but not with ready-to-eat food that won't be cooked. In that case workers should use single-use gloves, deli tissue or a utensil.
No matter what type of gloves a worker wears, Hutchings says the guidelines remain the same:
- Food workers should always wash their hands before putting on gloves, even antimicrobial gloves, to prevent germs from moving from the hands to the surface of the gloves.
- Food workers should change their gloves every four hours, just to be safe. Germs can multiply to dangerous levels in four hours at room temperature.Wearing the same pair of gloves longer than four hours runs the risk that the number of germs on the gloves could make someone sick.
- Food workers must change their gloves when they change tasks, even if they're only changing from chopping up one type of raw animal product (such as beef) to another (such as fish).
- If a contaminant gets inside a glove, it must be thrown away.
- Gloves should be stored separately from food and food utensils to help prevent cross-contamination.
In addition, cloth gloves should be washed between uses. Every time workers change their gloves, they should put their old pair into a laundry area so they can’t be accidentally reused by another person.
Gloves not only provide protection for consumers and workers, but they also send a strong message that the operator is serious about food safety. One former foodservice operator even suggested that workers make a public display of changing their gloves frequently in full view of customers to bolster consumer confidence in the store’s safety procedures.
For more information about how DayMark can enhance the safety of your foodservice operations, visit https://www.daymarksafety.com/