There is no scientific evidence that proves glove usage is better than hand washing. Especially in the prevention of cross-contamination. The reality is that, gloves give you a false sense of cleanliness. You cannot feel dirt or greasiness on a gloved hand. Which means that you change gloves less often than you would wash dirty hands.
The next concern is that gloves are not changed often enough to show any benefit to preventing cross-contamination. This also means food handlers also do not follow a proper glove policy and usually don’t have the correct size glove for a variety of hand sizes.
Hands actually need to be wash before putting a glove on and after taking a glove off. So, in an industry where normal hand washing is still a problem. This creates addition steps to a system already at strain.
One has to wonder why the idea of gloves become so popular. One of the concerns seen in the food service industry is that hand wash basins are hidden from public view and you never actually see a chef was their hands. It is almost as if hand washing whilst handling food is an embarrassing practice.
Consider public restrooms. If you see someone walk right past the hand basin without washing their hands, you see them as being unhygienic. We teach our children the importance of handwashing in preventing the spread of germs. Why then, do we look down on visible hand washing in a kitchen environment?
Chefs and kitchen managers always complain that the number one problem when it comes to food safety training in the kitchen, is how often hands should be washed.
Check out our hand washing videos for tips on how to improve this.
For us at Hygiene Food Safety, we know that proper hand washing and good personal hygiene is the only way to ensure safety from cross-contamination from food handlers. Yet, gloves are important in the following instances:
- When a chef cuts a finger, a plaster and glove should be used.
- Handling raw meats, in an effort to minimise the bacterial load.
There really is no other benefit to the use of gloves in the kitchen. The alternative is to educate the customer on food safety, by displaying frequent hand washing and taking every opportunity to explain the risks of cross-contamination in glove usage.