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Guide To Food Handling Gloves

Around the globe, millions of people eat out on a daily basis. Restaurant outlets, food joints, bakeries, delis, and drive-throughs have increased exponentially, and you can find one at every nook and corner. Along with serving high-quality, delectable food, it is even more important for food establishments to handle food items safely and ensure hygiene to prevent food ailments and outbreaks. 

According to CDC[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], every year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. In the United States, the FDA[Food and Drug Administration], CDC, and other bodies in conjunction have developed strict regulatory measures and laws that establishments in the food industry must adhere to. 

Today, let’s understand all about food-handling gloves that establishments such as yours can benefit from and be in compliance with existing laws and regulations. 

Is it Important to Wear Gloves When Handling Food?

Yes, food-safe gloves have a crucial role in maintaining hygiene in food establishments. They serve as a barrier between the hands of the worker and the food, either being prepared or being served. This separation is quintessential to prevent:

  • Cross-contamination between different food items. For instance, handling raw meat or fish and touching ready-to-eat foods, vegetables & fruits. 
  • Direct contact with the food handler. The hands may contain scores of bacteria and microorganisms that may be harmful. Gloves reduce this direct transmission of pathogens to a large extent. 
  • Triggering allergic reactions. People have various allergies that may range from mild to life-threatening degrees. Gloves are used as a protective measure that reduces the risk of allergic reactions. 

Further, in high-risk environments such as hospitals, gloves are necessary for hygiene and to prevent the spreading of contagious diseases and infections. 

Safety and Compliance: Legal Considerations

Are gloves a legal requirement for workers handling food? Does the FDA require gloves in food handling? Lots of questions, and let’s find out the answers. 

It is not legally binding to wear gloves by food handlers. However, food handlers are required to undergo rigorous training and receive certification for handling food hygienically. A food establishment requires a proper license or permit, which is given after due inspection by officials. Food handling gloves are approved under FDA Title 21 CFR Part 177. Accordingly, the manufacturing components of the glove must meet FDA requirements. Materials widely accepted as safe for use in food or food packaging must be used to make the gloves. The rule mandates gloves to be both hygienic and impermeable. 

Here are some of the best practices that the FDA has outlined when it comes to food safety and handling. 

  1. Maintaining adequate personal cleanliness to protect against contamination of covered produce and food contact surfaces;
  2. Avoiding contact with animals other than working animals and taking appropriate steps to minimize the likelihood of contamination of covered produce when in direct contact with working animals
  3. Washing hands thoroughly, including scrubbing with soap (or other effective surfactant) and running water that satisfies the requirements of § 112.44(a) (as applicable) for water used to wash hands, and drying hands thoroughly using single-service towels, sanitary towel service, electric hand dryers, or other adequate hand drying devices
    1. Before starting work
    2. Before putting on gloves
    3. After using the toilet
    4. Upon return to the workstation after any break or other absence from the workstation

Types of Food Handling Gloves

If you are looking for food-handling gloves for your business, here are some options to explore. 

Single-use or Disposable or PE Gloves

As the name suggests, these gloves are typically used once and then discarded. Single-use gloves are often made of thin, lightweight materials such as polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These gloves should not be reused and must be discarded after each use to prevent cross-contamination.

When to Use: Polyethylene or PE gloves are made of plastic and are used for light-duty tasks that require frequent changing or wear/removal. Polyethylene, the fundamental material with which the gloves are made, has properties such as chemical insulation, strength, flexibility, and waterproofness, among others. This makes these gloves an excellent choice in the food handling & packaging industry, salons, and other light-duty industries. 

These gloves are handy when working with ready-to-eat food items. As per FDA’s Food Code, section 3-301.11:

“Except when washing fruits and vegetables, food employees may not contact exposed ready-to-eat food with their bare hands and shall use suitable utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, single-use gloves, or dispensing equipment.” 

When To Change: Disposable food gloves are meant for short-term use and should be changed frequently, especially when switching between different food items or tasks. A single-use glove must be changed at least after 4 hours. If the gloves get torn or soiled, they must be discarded immediately. 

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves are made out of nitrile rubber, a durable and puncture-resistant material. These synthetic gloves are resistant to not just punctures but also chemicals and oils. Thus, nitrile gloves are one of the most suitable options for handling food. 

Is it just food handling? Or, can you use nitrile gloves for cooking? Absolutely. Nitrile gloves have appreciable tolerance to heat, making them ideal for cooking. 

When to Use: Nitrile gloves are perfect for food preparation, cooking, and handling. It is particularly used in environments where latex is not preferred- commonly due to allergy or latex residue. 

When To Change: It is recommended to change nitrile gloves when using a new ingredient or touching anything outside the food environment, such as money or cash registers. It is also required to dispose the gloves once torn or soiled. 

Vinyl Gloves

Vinyl gloves, made from synthetic PVC material, are often used as an alternative to latex gloves, just like nitrile gloves in food establishments. It is a cost-effective solution for businesses to prep and handle food articles. It is to be noted that vinyl gloves may not offer the same durability and puncture resistance as nitrile gloves. However, they are still suitable for low-risk food handling tasks and general food service applications.

When to Use: Ideal for low-risk tasks and shorter-term use. Since it can tear easily, high dexterity cannot be expected from vinyl gloves.  

When To Change: Vinyl gloves should be changed and replaced frequently, especially during long-duration tasks or when they become contaminated.

Hybrid Gloves

Hybrid gloves combine the functionality of all these kinds and are made of a blend of polyethylene. Hybrid glove manufacturers mostly combine polyethylene with TPE additives and are thus known as hybrid poly gloves as well. Hybrid gloves usually come in the non-powdered form, which makes it easy to work with them. Being latex-free, the gloves are also ideal for wearers with allergies. Hybrid gloves are more economical than nitrile or latex gloves, reduce wastage, and are easy to recycle.

When to Use: It is best to use hybrid gloves for ready-to-eat foods and generally foods at lower temperatures since they have temperature limitations. It is also best to avoid handling greasy and fatty food to prevent damaging it. 

When To Change: It is best to change latex gloves frequently to avoid contamination. This includes when switching between tasks, touching things outside the cooking environment, or if the gloves are torn or damaged in any way. 

What are the Best Practices for Using Food Handling Gloves?

Let’s take a closer look at some things to remember when using gloves for handling food, packing it, or cooking. 

  1. Select the right types of gloves. Consider factors such as allergies, material compatibility with food types, and durability.
  2. Wear gloves only when required to avoid cross-contamination. This includes touching money, cash registers, cell phones, and more, and then touching food again. 
  3. Wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before using gloves. 
  4. Inspect gloves for damage, tear, or any other defect. 
  5. Change gloves regularly to avoid contaminating the food. Avoid reusing gloves. 

RediBagUSA: The Best Food Handling Glove Manufacturer

Are you looking for high-quality food-handling gloves for your business? Do you want to purchase these at great prices? Let’s catch up. 

RediBagUSA is a leading manufacturer of gloves & bags headquartered in the US. With more than six decades of experience, RedibagUSA has many patents to its credit and can efficiently cater to all packaging needs of businesses of all sizes. 

Specification details, images, and available options of RedibagUSA's food-handling gloves.

For food businesses like yours, we offer: 

  • Hybrid gloves

Hybrid PE Gloves are made with a blend of polyethylene and TPE additive for durability and elasticity with embossing for additional grip. Additionally, an antimicrobial additive to polyethylene and TPE helps to minimize food contamination in the case of our Hybrid Antimicrobial Gloves. 

Our hybrid gloves are:

  • Recyclable, thereby reducing any negative effects on the environment
  • Food Safe certified
  • Latex-Free
  • Corn Starch Powder-Free
  • Nitrile Gloves

RedibagUSA’s nitrile gloves offer robust protection against chemicals and punctures. As a synthetic version of latex, these nitrile gloves provide an allergy-free alternative for those with latex allergies. These nitrile gloves are up to 3x stronger than latex; therefore, you get even greater protection while still maintaining dexterity & flexibility. The nitrile gloves are available in various sizes and in blue color. You can reach out to us for a custom quote, and we’ll be delighted to help you with your business needs. 

  • Vinyl Gloves

RedibagUSA provides clear vinyl gloves in the following forms:

  • Powdered form
  • Powderless/Powder-free form

In the powdered clear vinyl gloves, the powder is a corn starch to keep your hands dry and to make donning the gloves easier. The vinyl gloves from RedibagUSA comply with FDA standards- FDA Code 21 CFR 117.1520 and are also food-safe and latex-free.

  • PE Gloves

The PE gloves from RedibagUSA are lightweight and loose-fitting, ideal for frequent wear & removal. Thanks to a firm grip, the gloves are comfortable on your hands and will not slide off. Further, they are latex-free and come in powderless form to not leave any residue behind. These PE gloves are economical and an excellent bet for your business. 

Along with reusable, sustainable bags, it also provides apparel bags, Jumbo Convertible Reusable Bags, can liners, cooler bags, and so much more.

Rely on the Experience

With a complete and diversified selection of products, RediBagUSA is the company you were searching for. We handle the production, distribution, and logistics capabilities to serve some of the world’s largest international supermarkets and quick-service restaurants.

Contact us for more information about our offer and how we can satisfy your every packaging need!

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