On eight occasions, five volunteers each handled five pieces of meat with bare hands or while wearing dry or wet knitted gloves or rubber gloves after hands had been inoculated with Escherichia coli or after handling a piece of meat inoculated with E. coli. On each occasion, after all meat was handled, each piece of meat, glove, and hand were sampled to recover E. coli. When hands were inoculated, E. coli was recovered from all meat handled with bare hands, in lesser numbers from some pieces handled with knitted gloves, and from only one piece handled with rubber gloves. When pieces of inoculated meat were handled, the numbers of E. coli transferred to uninoculated meat from bare hands or rubber gloves decreased substantially with each successive piece of uninoculated meat, but decreases were small with knitted gloves. The findings indicate that, compared with bare hands, the use of knitted gloves could reduce the transfer of bacteria from hands to meat but could increase the transfer of bacteria between meat pieces, whereas the use of rubber gloves could largely prevent the first and greatly reduce the second type of bacteria transfer.

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