The use of disposable gloves in the food service industry is imperative to reduce the risk of cross-contamination and to prevent the spread of microbes.
Disposable gloves act as a barrier between hands and sensitive food materials, and are in more common use now than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
People who work in the food or beverage industries know the importance of wearing disposable gloves at all times while handling food items.
However, you may not know that different kinds of disposable gloves are suited to different kinds of food prep tasks. Here’s everything you need to know about disposable gloves in the food industry.
Using disposable gloves in the kitchen
There’s a multitude of foodborne diseases that can cause illnesses such as food poisoning if a customer eats contaminated food. Wearing the right gloves in the kitchen prevents the spread of foodborne microbes, so you can toss a salad in peace without worrying about the mess.
Not only do disposable gloves curb the spread of viruses and bacteria, but they also act as a protective layer for your hands. By wearing disposable gloves, you keep your skin from getting burned whenever you cut up spicy foods, such as ghost peppers.
If your hand has any cuts, gloves keep acidic juice from getting into them and causing them to sting. Additionally, strong odors from foods like onions, fish, and garlic won’t stick to your hands.
What to look for in disposable gloves
The disposable gloves you use for food prep are meant to be used in the short-term and then discarded. It’s essential that you replace your gloves frequently to prevent any cross-contamination.
When you’re looking for gloves to buy for food prep purposes, look for gloves that have antimicrobial agents on the surface that inhibit the spread of micro-organisms. These come in powder-free forms that leave no residue on the food you prepare. The food prep gloves you buy should be at least 2 millimeters thick.
Food prep glove materials
Gloves made of latex, polyethylene, nitrile, and vinyl are all appropriate for use as food prep gloves. Gloves made of these materials are widely available online and in most supermarkets. However, some people are allergic to latex, so you should ensure your employees aren’t allergic before buying them. If your restaurant is eco-friendly, latex gloves are a great idea because most companies produce them from renewable resources. These are made in powder-free forms as well.
Polyethylene gloves are a good choice if your employees need to change their gloves frequently, and are ideal for tasks that don’t require too much precision.
Vinyl gloves are durable—they’re best for food prep jobs that call for fingertip sensitivity.
Nitrile gloves are all-purpose gloves that are ideal for any food prep jobs. They contain no latex that could otherwise be an allergen, and are therefore the best choice overall.