In Love With Your Glove Series: Finding Fantastic Food Service Gloves

The Right Glove for Food Service

Finding the food prep glove of your dreams is a multi-faceted endeavor. As with all gloves, it is imperative to find the right pair that protects hands from the hazards presented in the work environment. At the same time, it is equally as important to protect the food from any possible contamination from the worker.

Common Kitchen Calamities

  1. Knicks and Cuts – Unfortunately, deli meat isn’t the only thing that gets sliced in the kitchen. The fast-paced nature of a kitchen inevitably leads to mistakes, especially when wielding a knife.
  2. The Puncture Juncture – Accidents happen in buzzing kitchens. Any cook or food service professional will attest to the fact that glasses and plates get broken all the time, leading to cut and puncture hazards. Avoiding these hazards is an important part in preventing the transmission of bloodborne pathogens into food.
  3. Keep Germs Off the Derma and Food – According to the CDC, 48 million people experience food poisoning each year. If there is one thing you want to avoid, it is leaving the customer with a bad taste in their mouth (literally) after consuming your product. 

Coping with Kitchen Calamities

  • High Cut/Puncture HazardsSteelcore™ Gloves are some of the most cut/puncture-resistant gloves available. They are especially useful for butchering and other food processing applications that require a significant amount of knife work. Gloves should not be worn when using any automatic cutting machinery (e.g. Meat slicers), as they could get caught and subject the worker to dangerous injuries.
  • Medium Cut/Puncture Hazards Dyneema® Dipped Gloves have quickly risen in popularity because of their versatility and high performance. They offer a great barrier that is more puncture resistant than latex or vinyl. In addition to being effective, they also fit well, are significantly more comfortable and flexible, and are cheaper than Steelcore. Dyneema is a great multi-purpose glove that is useful for a variety of applications ranging from prepping fish to cutting vegetables.
  • Germ HazardsVinyl Gloves are an economical solution for short-term applications such as food packaging. Of the disposable gloves, vinyl poses less of an allergen risk compared to latex. However, being disposable they provide less of a protective cut barrier than Dyneema or Steelcore. They are a great cost-effective alternative when puncture and cut threats are not an issue and when sanitation is the main goal. Vinyl gloves are extremely easy to remove, making it easier for workers to abide by cross-contamination procedures.

Thinking Above the Glove

It would be nice if finding the right food service glove was the end-all solution to a perfect kitchen, but unfortunately it’s not. It’s a good start though! Creating a safety-conscious kitchen culture is the key to maintaining a healthy and productive operation.

Food for thought about how to elevate the safety of your food service operation:

  1. Invincible Glove Paradox – In food service there is often times a misunderstanding that wearing gloves makes your hands enduringly sanitary. Cross-contamination is a huge issue that is sometimes overlooked in a chaotic kitchen. It is imperative to wash hands before and after switching stations as well as changing gloves.
  2. Proper Hand Washing – If you asked someone whether they know how to properly wash their hands, they would likely scoff in disgust at such an insulting question. According to the CDC, 89% of foodborne illness outbreaks in restaurants are caused by worker contamination, which can be significantly reduced by correctly washing hands.  Promoting awareness and providing employees with helpful resources can help your kitchen avoid being just another poor hand washing statistic.
  3. Educate and Regulate… Don’t “Germ”inate! – Every business in food service has different needs and sanitation requirements. Creating a kitchen protocol is instrumental to the success for anyone in food service. There are a number of helpful hints to follow like keeping knives sharp to prevent slips that cause cuts, and using hand and nail brushes help to further reduce pathogens when washing hands. Educating workers and establishing procedures is the foundation for creating a healthy and productive kitchen.

Every food service operation faces its own unique challenges. Understanding the demands of the job will help you find food service gloves that are a fantastic fit for your business!

Sources:

Glove University: by Ambitex University

How to Pick the Right Glove: by Ansell

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