The role played by food workers and other individuals in the contamination of food has been identified as an important contributing factor leading to foodborne outbreaks. To prevent direct bare hand contact with food and food surfaces, many jurisdictions have made glove use compulsory for food production and preparation. When properly used, gloves can substantially reduce opportunities for food contamination. However, gloves have limitations and may become a source of contamination if they are punctured or improperly used. Experiments conducted in clinical and dental settings have revealed pinhole leaks in gloves. Although such loss of glove integrity can lead to contamination of foods and surfaces, in the food industry improper use of gloves is more likely than leakage to lead to food contamination and outbreaks. Wearing jewelry (e.g., rings) and artificial nails is discouraged because these items can puncture gloves and allow accumulation of microbial populations under them. Occlusion of the skin during long-term glove use in food operations creates the warm, moist conditions necessary for microbial proliferation and can increase pathogen transfer onto foods through leaks or exposed skin or during glove removal. The most important issue is that glove use can create a false sense of security, resulting in more high-risk behaviors that can lead to cross-contamination when employees are not adequately trained.
Outbreaks Where Food Workers Have Been Implicated in the Spread of Foodborne Disease. Part 8. Gloves as Barriers To Prevent Contamination of Food by Workers
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EWEN C. D. TODD, BARRY S. MICHAELS, JUDY D. GREIG, DEBRA SMITH, CHARLES A. BARTLESON; Outbreaks Where Food Workers Have Been Implicated in the Spread of Foodborne Disease. Part 8. Gloves as Barriers To Prevent Contamination of Food by Workers. J Food Prot 1 September 2010; 73 (9): 1762–1773. doi: https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X-73.9.1762
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