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Poll: Which is Safest Gloves or Handwashing (145 member(s) have cast votes)

Gloves or Handwashing

  1. Gloves (20 votes [13.79%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.79%

  2. Handwashing (117 votes [80.69%])

    Percentage of vote: 80.69%

  3. Unsure (8 votes [5.52%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.52%

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#1 Simon

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 09:17 AM

Where direct contact food packaging is handled the BRC Global Standard - Food Packaging does not require gloves to be worn. However, in the best practice guidelines it does say that if gloves are worn they should be replaced regularly, should be disposable, blue in colour, and be intact and not shed fibres.

So really we are talking about disposable blue latex gloves or similar.

What I wanted to know is which method is the safest Gloves or Handwashing? Pros and cons of each.

Comments please.

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Simon


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#2 Simon

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 07:38 AM

Can anyone comment on this? :helpplease:


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#3 Gaskit

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 04:12 PM

Dear Simon,

Here we do utilise gloves whilst producing packaging for direct contact with food, in the main to stop paper/card cuts and to keep hands warm, in arriving with the disission I ended up agreeing what is written in the book "Hygiene for Management" by Richard A Sprenger in which he states:

The use of disposable vinyl, latex and non-latex gloves has not been proved to be a safer method of handling food compared to food handlers who use effective handwashing techniques. Opponents of gloves claim they give a false sense of security, become contaminated if hands are not washed prior to putting them on and can result in cross contamination from raw to high risk food in the same way as hands. Furthermore, a significant number of gloves have defects and pinholes, which enable bacteria from the hands to pass through the gloves. Latex gloves may produce an alleric reaction in some people. The hand environment created by wearing gloves provides the ideal conditions for the growth of pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus. Punctures in the gloves during use may result in contamination of the high-risk food with large numbers of pathogens.

Proponents of gloves claim that provided hands are washed before putting on the gloves and they are disposed of frequently, they minimize the risk of contamination of high risk food, especially if effective handwashing is not being achieved. It is also claimed that food handlers with gloves are more aware that they are handling high-risk food and are less likely to scratch their head and pick their nose or carry out other bad hygiene practices. Hands should also be washed when gloves are removed as significant multiplication of pathogens may have occured. The use of suitable gloves is recommended, for example, when handling high-risk foods for vunerable groups or when effective handwashing is not possible.

If gloves are used a glove policy should be provided. Food handlers should be trained on how and when to put on gloves and how they should be used to prevent cross contamination. Clear instructions regarding the changing and disposal of damanged and contaminated gloves should be given. Effective monitoring and supervision of glove use, including checking for dermititis is essential.

IMO the above applies to food packaging as well as food, as we all attempt to be as hygienic as possible at all times.

PS: I passed the BRC inspection (Cat B) with only 2 minor non-conformances which related to outside areas, none of my documentation was picked up - thanks all safepackers, much appreciated your help.

Kind regards,

Steve ;)


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I know God will not give me anything I cann't handle, I just wish that he didn't trust me so much.

#4 Simon

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 09:52 AM

Thanks for that Steve it's exactly what I was looking for; a good balanced argument. I suppose both methods can or cannot be effective depending on how well they are managed. However, there's no doubt gloves will be more expensive and more difficult to control as opposed to just hand-washing.

PS: I passed the BRC inspection (Cat B) with only 2 minor non-conformances which related to outside areas, none of my documentation was picked up - thanks all safepackers, much appreciated your help.

Really great news mate; I hope you can stick around and share your knowledge and experience with others on the road to Certification.

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Simon
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#5 Simon

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 08:32 PM

I was just browsing through an old copy of International Food Hygiene magazine (Volume 16, no. 7) and found an interesting research report on Food Handlers and Gloves.

This American work (J. Food Protect, 68 187-190) was undertaken to see whether the levels of selected organisms on foods handled by gloves and bare hands in fast food restaurants differed.

The survey was based on 371 plain flour tortillas that were purchased from fast food restaurants and tested for staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, klebsiella, coliforms and total bacterial counts. Approximately half the tortillas were from restaurants where the workers were gloved and half from establishments where the hands were bare.

Coliform bacteria were found in 9.6% of the ‘gloved’ samples and 4.4% of the ‘bare hands’ samples. Total bacterial levels were higher in the samples that had been handles by the gloved workers.

The tendency for workers to wear the same pair of gloves for extended periods and complacency might account for the apparent failure of gloves to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. Thus, the use of gloves might be counter productive because the workers might wash their hands less frequently.


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#6 Gaskit

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 10:53 AM

Dear Simon,

As you rightly put it; the system / process, regardless of the certification, is only effective if managed correctly. On first installing hand wash stations in this company, I actually stood by the stations on every break to ensure that everyone did indeed wash their hands, now i have passsed that on to the supervisor, also everyone knows that I happen to take hand swabs without informing anyone, seems to work!

Regards,

Steve

:ninja:


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#7 Charles.C

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 12:24 PM

Dear Simon,

I have seen an interesting variation where, as the worker places his hand in the washing area, he triggers a beam to start the water and, simultaneously a cheerful tune is played to confirm activation. A supervisor 'monitors' the tune. Does get a bit boring after 20-30 times though. :biggrin:

Rgds / Charles.C


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#8 Simon

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 09:59 PM

I have seen an interesting variation where, as the worker places his hand in the washing area, he triggers a beam to start the water and, simultaneously a cheerful tune is played to confirm activation. A supervisor 'monitors' the tune. Does get a bit boring after 20-30 times though. :biggrin:

What's the song Charles 'Car Wash'? :whistle:

Simon
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#9 Charles.C

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 12:20 PM

Dear Simon,
:clap: :clap:

Actually it was purely instrumental but it sounded like a jazzed-up version of the Hi Ho, Hi Ho theme. Very subtle :smile:

Rgds / Charles.C


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#10 Simon

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 09:29 PM

Does anbody have a comment to add to this debate?


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#11 MartLgn

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 09:18 AM

Does anbody have a comment to add to this debate?


You might not ever get rich but its better than diggin a ditch ! ........ Sorry :oops:

All Ive read in this thread just confirms what I had already concluded that wearing gloves promotes a feeling of complacency and employees may not wash their hands properly if they are going put on gloves, plus they may handle products wearing dirty gloves whereas without gloves they would have washed their hands when they felt dirty, this was the situation we observed at the last company I worked for.

also everyone knows that I happen to take hand swabs without informing anyone, seems to work!


We used to take random hand swabs weekly ( 10 swabs per 100 staff) and in 4 years I didn't see a TVC over 10 or any S.Aureus detections.
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Why put off until tomorrow that which you can avoid doing altogether ?

#12 cazyncymru

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 11:09 AM

You might not ever get rich but its better than diggin a ditch ! ........ Sorry :oops:

All Ive read in this thread just confirms what I had already concluded that wearing gloves promotes a feeling of complacency and employees may not wash their hands properly if they are going put on gloves, plus they may handle products wearing dirty gloves whereas without gloves they would have washed their hands when they felt dirty, this was the situation we observed at the last company I worked for.



We used to take random hand swabs weekly ( 10 swabs per 100 staff) and in 4 years I didn't see a TVC over 10 or any S.Aureus detections.



I actually visited a ready meal factory (for an interview) and whilst doing the grand tour we went through a hygiene barrier that consisted of a hand wash station and a turnstile. The turnstile wouldn't activate until you had washed your hands for at least 30 seconds!! i was suitably impressed!!
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#13 Charles.C

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 03:48 PM

Dear All,

Although not specifically OT, another factor regarding choice can be "regulatory". Most government agencies / auditors IMEX are much more comfortable when confronted by an array of gloves. As far as validating the usage, there are a lot of variables in this in practice - product sensitivity, sampling point, type of chemical, type of glove, washing technique, ancillary dips to name a few. I've rarely seen much published work on this, perhaps for negative reasons ?? I'm not even sure what result one should require other than "absence" of pathogens, after all, the item being handled will not normally be sterile. I have never seen a hand detergent make much claim as to target bacteriological results after use, possibly also due to lack of a standard situation ??.
The popularity of things like hypochlorite back-up dips seems to vary depending on location however such practices tend to promote the use of gloves for reasons other than microbiological.

Rgds / Charles.C


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#14 Simon

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 09:38 PM

You might not ever get rich but its better than diggin a ditch ! ........ Sorry :oops:

Ahem. :rolleyes:

All Ive read in this thread just confirms what I had already concluded that wearing gloves promotes a feeling of complacency and employees may not wash their hands properly if they are going put on gloves, plus they may handle products wearing dirty gloves whereas without gloves they would have washed their hands when they felt dirty, this was the situation we observed at the last company I worked for.

We used to take random hand swabs weekly ( 10 swabs per 100 staff) and in 4 years I didn't see a TVC over 10 or any S.Aureus detections.

And I imagine wearing gloves is very uncomfortable especially in summer. You can't beat good ole handwashing. At a sandwich shop I used to go to they wore blue latex gloves and handled everything with them including money. :thumbdown: To the uninitiated you see gloves and think hmm they're hygiene conscious, but when you think about it perhaps not so. I find it hard to believe auditors cannot work out the downside of wearing gloves.

I actually visited a ready meal factory (for an interview) and whilst doing the grand tour we went through a hygiene barrier that consisted of a hand wash station and a turnstile. The turnstile wouldn't activate until you had washed your hands for at least 30 seconds!! i was suitably impressed!!

Sounds good, 30 seconds though, I could have had a bath by then. :biggrin:

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Simon
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#15 Charles.C

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 07:20 AM

Dear Simon / Cazx.

To ask the obvious question - How many turnstiles? One unit / 100 simultaneous people / 30secs = cinema queue. Space is a common problem IMEX.
I am curious if anybody else has data / requirements to compare to Martlgn, obviously it depends on the business / reference area etc but I have found TVC under 10 (per cm2 ??) is rare except new gloves, fiercely scrubbed hands + dipped. Was it hospital RTE food?? How about Official Standards (rare I think)??

As an example of the problem, may I quote this (Hobbs and Gilbert) -

"The resident population of staphylococci, although reduced, may still be found on the hands after washing; they lodge in the hair follicles and cracks of the skin and may come to the surface after scrubbing with hot water......Foods which readily support the growth of staphylocooci, for example cooked meats, cured and uncured, creams, and cooked seafoods, should not be touched with the fingers."

Regarding the "psychological" factor of wearing gloves, as an occasional auditor I do feel that although I may have reservations regarding the unseen hygienic habits of workers when not wearingl gloves, I can expect (and assess) that the company will properly control a visibly gloved environment. I accept this may be faulty reasoning but ......

Rgds / Charles.C


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#16 Simon

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 10:02 PM

To ask the obvious question - How many turnstiles? One unit / 100 simultaneous people / 30secs = cinema queue. Space is a common problem IMEX.

Good point Charles, I can imagine the queue at shift changeover. However, good handwashing MUST be done and it takes time. Perhaps they have several stations - Caz?

As an example of the problem, may I quote this (Hobbs and Gilbert) -

"The resident population of staphylococci, although reduced, may still be found on the hands after washing; they lodge in the hair follicles and cracks of the skin and may come to the surface after scrubbing with hot water......Foods which readily support the growth of staphylocooci, for example cooked meats, cured and uncured, creams, and cooked seafoods, should not be touched with the fingers."

I hate to pooh-pooh science with a simple observation but... :smile: my local butcher asks for all raw meats first and before getting any cooked meats for my order he scrubs his hands with soap, hot water and a degree of vigour. It may not please Hobbs and Gilbert, but it is good to see and gives me confidence.

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#17 cazyncymru

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 10:05 AM

Good point Charles, I can imagine the queue at shift changeover. However, good handwashing MUST be done and it takes time. Perhaps they have several stations - Caz?

Regards,
Simon



To be honest it was not that labour intensive a site, and was divided into high and low risk (terms i do not like using) but they did have three turnstiles.

Caz x
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#18 Charles.C

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 07:12 PM

Dear Simon,

Dare I ask how yr butcher dried his hands after washing ?
Perhaps you could ask if his shop has passed the "HACCP" requirements introduced for UK food establishments which we discussed previously, I would expect they have an opinion on such handling issues. Can't remember if this regulation included butcher's shops and if so whether certificates are required to be displayed. (Such queries are preferably not made while the cutting of meat is taking place :smile: .)

@Cazx - actually 3 lanes sounds not so bad but if each leads to only 1 washing point, I guess this only transfers the queue. It is a tricky problem for any significant number of workers and companies often try to not display the "rush hour" to auditors IMEX.

Rgds / Charles.C


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#19 Simon

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 08:39 AM

Dear Simon,

Dare I ask how yr butcher dried his hands after washing ?

She used a paper towel.

Perhaps you could ask if his shop has passed the "HACCP" requirements introduced for UK food establishments which we discussed previously, I would expect they have an opinion on such handling issues. Can't remember if this regulation included butcher's shops and if so whether certificates are required to be displayed. (Such queries are preferably not made while the cutting of meat is taking place :smile: .)

Yes good point I haven't seen a certificate displayed and have not asked. Maybe I should. :whistle:

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#20 Charles.C

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 02:19 PM

Dear Simon,

Any facial jewelry, necklaces ?? I don't give up easily. Actually it sounds rather impressive, a woman's touch perhaps.

Rgds / Charles.C


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#21 Simon

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 09:22 PM

Dear Simon,

Any facial jewelry, necklaces ?? I don't give up easily. Actually it sounds rather impressive, a woman's touch perhaps.

Rgds / Charles.C

Not that I noticed, I will check on my next visit; in fact I may as well carry out a full blown audit. You won't be satisfied until I do. ;) :biggrin:

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#22 Charles.C

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 08:53 AM

Dear All,

Just to add one more aspect to this topic, I believe there is a variation in opinion particularly between Europaean influenced and American oriented processors regarding hand "sanitising".

The US general hand / glove idea is similar, eg

"Improperly used gloves may become a vehicle for spreading pathogens. The use of gloves does not lessen the need for, or importance of, hand-washing and other proper hygiene practices. We recommend that if gloves are used in a facility, the firm develop guidelines for their safe use, sanitation, and changing."

However, the US, I think, is much more fixated on dipping the hands in anti-bacterial chemicals all the time (ie within the process area), eg

"Use sanitizers properly for food safety

Hand sanitizing stations
• After hand washing, sanitize your clean hands with a sanitizer solution
• Allow hands to air dry
• Wash hands and sanitize gloves (disposable or reusable) before wearing
• Re-sanitize your hands after touching non-food contact surfaces
Foot Sanitizer
• When entering any area where fresh produce or fresh-cut produce is present, walk through a foot sanitizer unit
Sanitizer maintenance
• Monitor and change hand and foot sanitizer solutions as needed to maintain effective sanitizer strength, per manufacturer's recommendation"

(by foot, I guess they mean boot)

The above were taken from http://www.cfsan.fda...s/prodgui3.html which relates primarily to fruit processing however I have seen similar for other industries. In contrast, I think Europaean outfits tend to consider handwashing/cleaning as a sufficient operational step within the production area. Regarding boots, the L.mono.... aspect probably tends to drive a closer agreement though it is obviously unreal to expect negative results on product coming directly from the surrounding environment.

Rgds / Charles.C


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#23 Mohamed NEGM

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 08:09 AM

dear Simon,

:thumbup:  good point, but I think it depend on the place of work, and the nature of work. there are many parameters to say if the worker should use gloves or clean or sanitize his hand

best wishes,
MNEGM


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#24 Simon

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 08:31 PM

dear Simon,

:thumbup:  good point, but I think it depend on the place of work, and the nature of work. there are many parameters to say if the worker should use gloves or clean or sanitize his hand

best wishes,
MNEGM

OK we've had the debate so which, taking everything into account and in your opinion is the safest - gloves or handwashing. Please vote in the poll.

Simon
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#25 Charles.C

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:36 PM

Dear Simon,

Perhaps you could have had a category for RTE / Non-RTE products ? My answer at least would change for a production line even if the hotel chef's might not. Consequently >>>>

Rgds / Charles.C


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