This is my first post - (long-time viewer...just got brave enough to post)
Refrigerated RTE fruit/vegetable processing facility trying to make the determination between multi-use and single-use gloves. Spent time reviewing the CFR and reading published articles on the pros & cons of single vs multi use gloves. 21 CFR 110.10 they (gloves) are required to be maintained in clean, intact and sanitary conditions. Both the single use and multi use that are currently being used / under consideration meet the requirements in 21 CFR 177.2600. My question is .... if using multi-use gloves can the employees wash/sanitize their gloves, (while wearing them) when switching from one task to another or must they wash their hands and change into another pair of clean/sanitized multi-use gloves?
While on the glove topic and at risk of showing my ignorance...due to the wet and cold environment white "warming" gloves are also used under the exterior food contact gloves. I have no experience with this type of glove.. is this common practive? I am currently working on a program to manage the use, removal & sanitation of these gloves...any helpful ideas, experiences that would point me down the correct path would be much appreciated.
Thank you...in advance
Good and valid question for a food safety forum.
You have to consider the standards that apply to your facility. Obviously you have already considered the regulatory standards of the CFR. Sometimes the CFR offers guiding principles in their regulatory guidance and prescriptions; in this case that gloves remain clean and good condition. With a criteria as vague and open to interpretation as this you can approach it with perspectives ranging from what can I get away with to what is the intent and purpose of the regulation. I always like to attempt to exceed the regulatory standard, to apply scientific methods and solve food safety and quality challenges at hand. In this case there ought to be a hazard risk analysis that considers the questions: What is clean? What is good condition? Why are we wearing gloves in the first place? What could go wrong? Is allergen cross contact at risk? Is microbial cross contamination at risk? What is the risk the glove itself might be a chemical or physical hazard? What preventative control(s) can we put in place. How will we monitor and verify the controls? Are our assumptions and conclusions validated?
If you have GFSI schemes, GMP audits and customer contractual agreements, then you have to meet these standards as well. Some of the prescriptions I have encountered in my career Include: What the glove is made of; vinyl, latex, nitrile, etc.? Is the glove powdered? Is the glove “exam” grade, approved for food contact? Are there documents to show the gloves are tested by the National Safety Foundation, LOG, COA, etc.? If the food is RTE, food handling gloves often mandatory.
The above goes for the “warming” gloves as well.
I have heard my entire career that there is no practice (validated) that stops food borne illness more effectively than frequent, proper hand washing. IMO glove use practices should not contravene frequent, proper hand washing, but rather it should augment and enhance food safety.