Clean, protected hands are required by law in many states for food processing and food service applications.
And for good reason: When gloves are worn on clean hands and changed properly, they significantly reduce the risk of transmitting diseases from a worker to a patron during food handling.
Consequently, if you are a supplier, distributor, wholesaler, or end user who is in charge of selecting disposable food service gloves, it’s of the greatest importance that you do so following several strict guidelines and recommendations.
That way, you can ensure that the food service workers who are donning your selected food service gloves are protecting both themselves, their colleagues, and their customers from the potentially serious consequences of food contamination.
If you’re currently evaluating disposable food service gloves, there are a few specific things that we recommend that you look for. These include:
1) Are the gloves manufactured in an ISO 9001:2015-certified facility?
When a manufacturing facility is ISO 9001:2015-certified, that means that they meet the rigorous guidelines as outlined by the ISO 9001:2015 quality management system standard.
Overall, ISO 9001:2015-facilities have quality assurance systems in place; apply a customer-first approach; pursue continuous improvement measures; and meet relevant regulatory and statutory requirements.
This is why glove suppliers like Omni International Corp. are known for our food service gloves. Because our parent company, Blue Sail Group, is ISO 9001:2015-certified, we can ensure consistently excellent quality materials.
What’s important is to investigate if the glove companies you’re considering work with facilities that are certified for this ISO standard and to ask for proof of this certification. They should be able to furnish proof if requested.
2) Does the manufacturer meet any additional internationally- or federally-recognized standards to ensure that their gloves are high-quality?
Currently, there are no federal government regulations or specifications for general purpose/food service gloves. Traditionally, these gloves have been considered off-quality (i.e., the products were unable to meet AQL requirements for medical purposes).
However, several very select glove manufacturers (include Omni International Corp.) have taken food service gloves to a higher level of quality assurance by meeting other standards in addition to ISO 9001:2015.
NSF has established Protocol P155 to address the need to provide the safest possible gloves for the food service industries. NSF Protocol P155 requires plant audits to determine the efficiencies relative to product specification and bioburdens, thus assuring consistently excellent quality products.
Looking for food service gloves that meet NSF Protocol P155 or similar international and/or federal standards means that these gloves will be ideal for all food handling situations, including food processing, preparation, and general handling.
3) Are the gloves safe for all applications with cooked and uncooked food including handling poultry, processing meat, and picking fruits?
“Food service applications” can cover a wide array of applications with various kinds of materials and in numerous different environments, from large food processing facilities to food trucks in hipster enclaves in cities like Austin and Portland.
As you’re evaluating disposable food service gloves, you’ll obviously want to evaluate gloves that meet any specific applications utilized by you or your customers. Nevertheless, it is also imperative to evaluate gloves that meet broader applications. Consider, for instance, where gloves might be used in your average full-service restaurant.
Restaurant employees will use gloves to prepare multiple kinds of food and beverages, including both cooked and uncooked foodstuffs. Some of these foods, when uncooked, could carry salmonella, which would make gloves with built-in anti-microbial technology like Omni’s AMS gloves an ideal option.
Also, some employees may use sharp knives; others may just prepare dishes. Furthermore, there may be some employees who prefer powder free gloves and others that prefer powdered gloves.
As a result, having more than one kind of glove can equip one full-service restaurant for success. This can be carried over across the whole food processing spectrum.
4) Are they vinyl, nitrile, or cast polyethylene gloves?
As we’ve talked about before, several states including Ohio, Oregon, and Connecticut have banned the use of latex gloves in food service operations and retail food establishments because of the pervasiveness of latex food allergies.
If this trend continues, it can be wise to steer away from latex gloves for food service applications and instead look at alternative options like vinyl, nitrile, and cast polyethylene (CPE) gloves that do not cause known allergies.
During the food service glove evaluation and selection process, there are a few things to look for that will help you make the right choice(s) for you and/or your customers:
- Work with glove suppliers or manufacturers whose products are manufactured in ISO 9001:2015-facilities.
- Try to find a glove supplier whose gloves meet other international- or federally-recognized certifications to ensure they’re high-quality.
- Choose glove(s) that are safe for all food service applications, which will most likely mean choosing more than one type of glove.
- Skip latex altogether and select vinyl, nitrile, or CPE gloves instead.
By following these recommendations, you will be efficacious in your selection process!