The major reason for the use of gloves is public perception. The customer seems to feel more at ease when gloves are used, rather than the other way around. A study conducted showed that 85% of customers who observe gloved workers felt that this was more hygienic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 36% of food-borne illness can be traced to poor personal hygiene and that food-borne diseases cause about 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalisations and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year.
From the numbers one can understand why the glove industry is doing so well.
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 a 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.