Gloves are used very often in the food industry, especially when workers are preparing food. Unfortunately, some people don’t understand how to properly use gloves. Gloves are certainly useful, but they are not magical. Many people have the mindset that if they have gloves on, the food they prepare will always be safe. However, gloves can become contaminated just as easily as worker’s hands. If food workers don’t wash their hands before putting on gloves or don’t put the gloves on properly, the gloves could be contaminated with dangerous pathogens. It is crucial that workers wash their hands thoroughly before putting on a new pair of gloves.
Since gloves can become contaminated very easily, they must be changed often. They may only be used for one task and must be discarded if damaged or if the worker is interrupted during that task. If a worker is performing the same task, the gloves must be changed every four hours because that is long enough for pathogens to multiply to dangerous levels. Gloves must be changed anytime the worker does a different task. These can include picking up a pan off the floor, touching any part of exposed skin, operating the cash register, answering the phone, or simply picking up a pen to write with.
Gloves are safer than bare hand contact, provided they are used correctly, which includes changing them frequently, washing hands before and after use and not cross-contaminating by, for example, handling both RTE (ready-to-eat) and raw foods or touching cash with a gloved hand. One risk is that gloves provide a false sense of security—workers may not change a soiled glove but would have washed their hands were they not wearing gloves.
As you read previously, considering the task being performed is also important. For instance, a sandwich maker working entirely with ready-to-eat breads, meats, cheeses, veggies and condiments, would normally be fine to use one pair of gloves for the entire sandwich making process, provided hands are clean and the gloves are fresh, undamaged and don’t become soiled in the process.
But there are other, more subtle and insidious forms of cross-contamination. For example, guests with allergies, intolerances or other dietary restrictions may be harmed if you cross-contaminate, even if the food would be perfectly safe to eat for another guest. For example, even if you offer gluten-free bread, your hands could easily contaminate that bread with gluten from your conventional offerings. And how would a guest who does not eat pork feel if the same glove you used to touch ham on the previous sandwich handled his veggie sub? While not pathogenic, it is important to think about the purpose of avoiding cross-contamination, beyond the basics.
“Wash Your Hands Before Returning to Work.” It’s a familiar sign seen by employees on a daily basis. However, do employees really wash their hands? If they do wash their hands, is the washing being done properly? When and where do they wash their hands? Various studies indicate that proper hand washing doesn’t occur as regularly or as thoroughly as needed. Depending upon the type of food facility, 33% to 73% of the facilities were out of compliance with proper hand washing procedures.
How to Wash
The procedure food handling employees are to use to clean their hands and exposed areas of their arms (including prosthetic devices) is as follows:
Rinse hands under clean, warm, running water.
Apply an amount of cleaning compound as recommended by the manufacturer.
Rub hands together vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds while ensuring that soil is removed from under the fingernails and from the surfaces of the hands and arms, including prosthetic devices.
Thoroughly rinse hands under clean, running water.
Immediately follow with a thorough drying using single-use disposable towels or a continuous towel system that supplies a new towel at each use or a heated air, hand drying device or a pressurized air blast.
3.05: Personal Hygiene
Good personal hygiene can prevent food poisoning.
Bacteria that cause food poisoning can be on everyone – even healthy people. You can spread bacteria from yourself to the food if you touch your nose, mouth, hair or your clothes, and then food.
Good personal hygiene also makes good business sense. Customers like to see food-handling staff who take hygiene seriously and practice safe food handling.
Watch how your co-workers handle food and consider it from a customer’s point of view. Would you want to eat at, or buy food from, the place you work?
To prevent food poisoning using good personal hygiene, follow these tips:
Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling food, and wash and dry them again frequently during work.
Dry your hands with a clean towel or disposable paper towel.
Never smoke, chew gum, spit, or eat in a food handling or food storage area.
Never cough or sneeze over food, or where food is being prepared or stored.
Wear clean protective clothing, such as an apron.
Keep your spare clothes and other personal items (including mobile phones) away from where food is stored and prepared.
Tie back or cover long hair.
Keep fingernails short so they are easy to clean, and don’t wear nail polish because it can chip into the food.
Avoid wearing jewelry, or only wear plain-banded rings.
Completely cover all cuts and wounds with a waterproof bandage (ex. Band-Aid).
Wear disposable gloves over the top of the wound strip if you have wounds on your hands.
Change disposable gloves regularly.
Advise your supervisor if you feel unwell, and don’t handle food.
Signs with pictures of good practices are an excellent method to reinforce training. These should be displayed in areas where applicable and be multilingual. Training should be documented and list the employees that have completed it.
Workers can carry pathogens internally and on their hands, skin and hair. It is imperative that they follow and understand basic food protection practices and maintain a high degree of personal cleanliness and good sanitizing practices to prevent food product contamination. Unless employees understand and follow basic food protection principles, they may unintentionally contaminate food packaging, water and other workers, thereby creating the opportunity to transmit food-borne illness. Employee health and hygiene falls into two categories, cleanliness and disease control.
3.06: Review/Critical Thinking
Please complete the following questions. It is important that you use full sentences and present the questions and answers when you submit your work.
Go to the Assessment area in the course to complete the assignment Review and Critical Thinking and submit the work as a file attachment.
The answers to the Review and Critical Thinking Questions are worth 10 points.
3.07: Cooking Assignment #3
You are to make one of the following:
This should not be a 'boxed' or 'pre' mix. This is your opportunity to incorporate all of the ingredients from one of the recipes listed above and actually have the hands-on experience - which is the best way to learn!
This assignment will NOT be graded on presentation so please do not worry if your final product does not turn out perfectly. The goal for you on this assignment is to TRY YOUR BEST! At a minimum, you should take pictures of: (1) the ingredients prior to cooking, (2) a picture demonstrating a preparation or cooking technique, and (3) the completed product/dish. When you're finished, write a brief description of the techniques you used to prepare the dish. Write a separate paragraph evaluating the results. Include any problems you encountered and how you overcame them. It is ideal to put everything into ONE document/presentation. Submit in the Assessments area.
3.08: Module 3 Quiz
Before you take the quiz for this unit take a moment to review what you have learned.
When you feel that you are ready to complete the Module 1 Quiz, Sanitation, click HERE.