Gloves have become something of a symbol of food safety but, in fact, can inspire a false sense of security, conclude the authors of a series of studies published in the Journal of Food Protection.
The authors suggest that even the best gloves are no substitute for regular, thorough hand washing. They explain that the warm, moist environment inside every glove is an ideal place for microbial proliferation. Glove brands differ in quality and material, vinyl gloves are more susceptible to rips than Latex gloves. Long fingernails or rings greatly increase the likelihood of glove puncture, a double threat because nails and jewelry tend to harbor higher concentrations of harmful bacteria than bare hands.
Numerous studies recommend that food preparers should ideally put on a new pair of gloves every two hours to guard against possible unseen punctures. The study says that in the food-service industry the improper use of gloves is more likely to cause problems than glove leakage. Gloves should be changed or sanitized when cooks move from working with raw meats to preparing vegetables and other foods. The study suggests one disinfecting method to guard against cross-contamination, but it involves a time-consuming, five-step.
Gloves, however, tend to be one of the easiest food-safety methods to regulate, the study acknowledges. Employers can easily check to see how many gloves have been used, as well as their condition. "Glove use is easily observed to verify hygiene compliance, unlike assessing hand washing frequency and thoroughness," the study concludes.
Aporte: Víctor Tardón