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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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Abstract:

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.

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Advertising Public Relations and Retailing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA 2: The B. Michaels Group Inc., 487 West River Road, Palatka, Florida 32177, USA 3: Public Health Agency of Canada, Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, 160 Research Lane, Unit 206, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 5B2 4: Campden BRI, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire GL55 6LD, UK 5: 6110 Troon Lane S.E., Olympia, Washington 98501, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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