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By Chris Wilson
When you’re in the food industry, maintaining a clean and safe environment is critical. After all, you don’t want your business to become associated with the spread of foodborne illnesses. But to ensure your food is safe and free from pathogens, cleaning your kitchen equipment and tools is not enough. You need to devote many hours into educating your employees on proper hygiene practices. Especially on hand hygiene and the use of disposable gloves.
I’m sure, everyone is already aware of how important it is to wash our hands. Giving our hands a proper cleaning removes dangerous germs which we can transmit into our body or onto the food we come into contact with. But in a restaurant environment, washing your hands isn’t enough to keep all of the germs away. What’s more, it’s not practical to do it every 5 minutes. Work in a commercial kitchen is fast-paced with orders constantly coming in, which means workers often don’t have the time to wash their hands as thoroughly as needed.
And this is where disposable gloves come in. They can be put on and off instantly without wasting time. No doctor or dentist would perform a medical exam without wearing gloves, and the same goes for a food handler when doing his job. Gloves act like a barrier that keeps germs on the hands from spreading to the food, making them essential for preventing food poisoning.
Additionally, gloves also help to protect your hands from hot and spicy foods and prevent acidic juices from irritating your sensitive skin. They also prevent the skin from absorbing strong food odors such as garlic and fish and keep your nails in mint condition too. And then there’s also the fact that tossing a salad is a lot less messy when wearing gloves, don’t you agree?
But gloves can be helpful when performing other tasks in a commercial kitchen besides food preparation. They prevent the skin on the hands from drying out when washing dishes or cleaning counter-tops with harsh commercial-grade products. They also protect workers from getting germs on their hands when taking out the garbage or handling money.
Without a doubt, disposable gloves can have many benefits for businesses that handle food. So, let’s take a look at what you need to know when buying gloves for your establishment.
Considerations When Buying Disposable Gloves
First of all, let’s talk about materials. Latex gloves are the most common choice for food establishments. They are a 100% natural product that’s made of rubber. So, if you’re wondering how to dispose of latex gloves in a way that’s least harmful for the environment, that would be by composting. As opposed to other disposable gloves which are synthetic and non-degradable, gloves made of latex are the greenest option. They are also found to offer greater comfort and tactile sensitivity and are extremely resilient when coming into contact with high temperatures and harsh chemicals.
When purchasing latex gloves, you’ll come across powdered and powder-free sets. The inside of powdered gloves is covered in a thin layer of cornstarch. This makes them easier to put on and off when working in a busy setting where efficiency is key. What’s more, they are found to offer better grip when working with knives or handling slippery good such as raw meat and fish. On the other hand, some people dislike the feeling of powder on their skin and prefer powder-free gloves.
Next in popularity are vinyl gloves which are a synthetic alternative for latex. They are less expensive and a solution for food handlers allergic to latex. However, they offer a looser fit which may reduce grip when working with them. These gloves are also available as powdered and powdered-free. You can also opt for polyethylene gloves which are the cheapest option and use them for tasks that don’t require a high level of tactile sensitivity such as taking out the garbage and cleaning.
Whether you opt for latex, vinyl or polyethylene gloves, buying in bulk is a smart option. As a business in the food industry, you will go through hundreds of pairs each week. Making bulk orders for gloves will save you time as opposed to buying new cases each week. What’s more, by buying in bulk you will make sure that your employees always have enough food prep gloves on hand. Then, there’s also the fact that bulk orders come with lower prices than standard orders. So, this way you can reduce some of your business costs.
You also have the option to purchase separate sets of gloves in different colors as a practical system for preventing cross-contamination. For example, you can use red gloves for handling raw meat, blue for raw fish, green for vegetables and salads, white for dairy products, yellow for cooked meat and purple for cleaning.