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To Glove or Not To Glove

Posted by on in Uncategorized

The following comment was posted on our San Diego Pretzel Co. Facebook page.

 

Watching Unwrapped on the Cooking Channel and you seem to have a great product, I just wish that your employees would wear gloves when handling the dough... I have been in food service for 35 years and have never gone without gloves... it's the best thing you can do for your customers next to making a great product.....Justmyopinion!!

Mickey

Our Answer

Hi Mickey,

I’m glad you brought up a contentious issue taking place in the food industry – when to wear gloves, and, perhaps,not to wear them at all.

On our TV segment, Unwrapped2.0, our staff are not wearing gloves while working with the raw dough.   But they’re wearing them while packaging.  It’s much easier to roll pretzels without gloves, and any pathogens that may be on the raw dough arekilled when the pretzels go into the ovens.  Baking literally sterilizes the pretzels.However, after the pretzels are baked off, our staffmust wear gloves to package the pretzels (health department regulations) as the finished product can potentially be contaminated by dirty hands with no longer a means of sterilization.   You may not have noticed all the staff wearing gloves while boxing the pretzels.

However, many food service professionals including health inspectorsquestion the usage of disposable gloves in commercial kitchens.  Here’s a list of the pros and cons:

Pros:

1.      Gloves are clean when you first put them on.

2.      Glove manufacturers, petroleum manufacturers, and a host of other industries earn extra money by selling disposable gloves to commercial food facilities.

3.      More jobs are created.

Cons:

1.      In place of workers concentrating on washing and keeping their hands clean at all times, they slip on a pair of rubber gloves.

2.      While cutting, pieces of rubber or plastic gloves find their way into the finished food product especially if the glove is too big.   Many food companies use a “one size fits all” glove that doesn’t live up to its tag line. 

3.      Food service personnel have no way to determine if the gloves they’re wearing are still clean except by looking at them.  Without gloves, tactile sensors letus know when hands are sticky.  We can feel before our eyes can see the dirt.

4.      Gloves cost consumers millions of dollars by raising the food cost as they’re an extra added expense.

5.      Disposable gloves are a major pollutant. Every day, commercial kitchens throughout our country are currently piling upmountains of used plastic and rubber gloves including their packaging.

There was a time when wooden cutting boards were banned from commercial kitchens in favor of plastic cutting boards.  Now wooden cutting boards are back as it’s been found that they harbor less bacteria.  Also, the microscopic wood fibers that get into food are safe to consume as opposed to microscopic plastic fibers. 

I believe it’s now time to get the unneeded, costly, hazardous gloves out of our commercial kitchens, and get back to handwashing - simple, safe, cost effective, and environmentally friendly.

What do you think?

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