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Is it acceptable for employees to use Latex gloves?


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#1 That Guy

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 09:17 PM

Is it acceptable for employees to use Latex gloves in a food manufacturing and packaging facility in any application under any auditing standards?

 

We have a GMP Audit coming up and it will be done by Randolph Associates. This is the first time using them after always using AIB or Silliker for our third party audits. In the GMP standards supplied by Randolph it clearly states that disposable gloves should be latex free and powder free, going forward we will comply to this. However, we have a stockpile of latex gloves with more on order and the purchasing department is putting up quite a fuss over the change. I am rather new to food safety/quality but to me it is very obvious why we wouldn't want to use latex. There is really no way for us to detect latex fragments or even a whole glove if it is inside our product. I do not know how long latex gloves have been used in our facility or who initially approved their use. Purchasing is fighting the change by using the flawed reasoning of "This is what we have always used and never had a problem so why do we have to change things now". I honestly have no idea why anyone in our purchasing department would even care what type of gloves we use.

 

We currently have powder free latex, powdered latex, latex examination gloves, powder free nitrile gloves and a few vinyl gloves. I have explained the situation to the plant manager and he has agreed with me but some personnel are still putting up a fight and I was hoping I could come up with some examples and other guidelines to try and sway some attitudes and opinions with out having to go to upper management. This whole process has already taken up more time and energy then it should have and if I cant reason with people I will be forced to waste a lot more time on something that shouldn't even be an issue. 


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#2 Snookie

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 09:25 PM

Gloves whatever their material, latex, vinyl, nitrile can rip or get in the product. Latex is considered to be allergenic. If you wear latex long enough you almost always develop a reaction to them.    I would consider latex more an employee health issue than a food safety issue. 


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#3 That Guy

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 12:04 PM

True, this topic is a employee health issue. I was not sure what topic to post this under but there are people who are very allergic to latex. My wife for instance, the slightest touch from latex will cause the area to break out in hives.

 

My concern is that if a consumer with such a severe reaction were to ingest latex what would happen? Our facility produces chewing gum, so latex may not be swallowed, just chewed on for a bit. I know lips will swell up a lot but will air ways be constricted? In my opinion (I'm not a doctor) this possibility places latex gloves in a separate category than other gloves or possible foreign objects. I don't know if this is a common reaction but I would think that perhaps this is one reason why latex would be unacceptable. The standard we are following states that we should not be using latex, it does not give the reason why it should not be used but the reason I first thought of was the allergy and possible danger to consumers as well as to an employee. I have not found any statements or guidelines that directly address the use of latex gloves which is why i thought to ask for your opinions. For all i know my logic about this is backwards due to my wife's reaction to latex. 

 

The issue with my facility isn't really the gloves themselves, it is the people ordering them.  I don't want to create a divide between our employees which is why I have tried so hard to convince them instead of having management drop the hammer.


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#4 Charles.C

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 12:42 PM

Dear Cody,

 

I suggest you ask Messrs Randolph Associates.

 

If there is no official US requirement, such as in the Food Code (?) and the to-be-audited GMP standard is generic, ie non-specific to chewing gum, it seems quite likely that the reason is Employee oriented. You might consider posting the relevant portion of standard on this forum for comments.

 

But purely from an audit POV the conclusion is presumably the same, irrespective of yr glove inventory.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#5 Snookie

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 10:25 PM

True, this topic is a employee health issue. I was not sure what topic to post this under but there are people who are very allergic to latex. My wife for instance, the slightest touch from latex will cause the area to break out in hives.

 

My concern is that if a consumer with such a severe reaction were to ingest latex what would happen? Our facility produces chewing gum, so latex may not be swallowed, just chewed on for a bit. I know lips will swell up a lot but will air ways be constricted? In my opinion (I'm not a doctor) this possibility places latex gloves in a separate category than other gloves or possible foreign objects. I don't know if this is a common reaction but I would think that perhaps this is one reason why latex would be unacceptable. The standard we are following states that we should not be using latex, it does not give the reason why it should not be used but the reason I first thought of was the allergy and possible danger to consumers as well as to an employee. I have not found any statements or guidelines that directly address the use of latex gloves which is why i thought to ask for your opinions. For all i know my logic about this is backwards due to my wife's reaction to latex. 

 

The issue with my facility isn't really the gloves themselves, it is the people ordering them.  I don't want to create a divide between our employees which is why I have tried so hard to convince them instead of having management drop the hammer.

 

 

Cody,  I think you misunderstood me.  Where you posted is fine.    That there are allergenic is the issue you use with the people ordering them.  I started my career in laboratories when Latex was the only choice.  I who am not allergic to anything, eventually became allergic to them.  Most people do if you wear them long enough and frequently enough.  Your employees will most likely eventually start to have problems. 

 

This link is from the 90's.  http://www.immune.com/rubber/nr3.html   Healthcare does not use latex anymore (with rare exceptions) due to the allergic reactions. 

 

http://blink.ucsd.ed...oves/latex.html

 

Nitrile also tends to me more resistant to chemicals as well. 


Edited by Snookie, 08 May 2014 - 10:27 PM.

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