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Should gloves be used in pre-bake dough mixing?

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Posted 07 June 2016 - 02:58 PM

Hi all, I have a question that I suspect may generate some healthy debate. We make dry baked goods, and the mixing team on the pre-bake end of our operations wears standard food-grade plastic gloves, but their work is so hand-intensive that the gloves quickly break down and once or twice a week we'll catch glove fragments in the product. 


The options we are considering include:

1. Just drop the use of gloves. The mixers would prefer to feel the ingredients and dough anyway, and we are not using anything harmful to skin contact. The baking is an adequate kill step, but I'm concerned this approach may violate some SQF quality requirements. 

2. Switch to heavy-duty gloves that will not break down as quickly. The key issue here is comfort for the mixers. The mixing area is hot, and wearing thick rubber gloves for 8 hours is miserable. 


What do you all think? Is option 1 an acceptable solution given the kill step, or should we only consider option 2? 


Thank in advance for your input!


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Posted 07 June 2016 - 03:34 PM

Hi Peter,


I assume "dry" baked goods means no filling.


A similar topic has been recently debated here, vis-a-vis hygiene expectations for "baking Chefs". Not so different i guess.


I assume there are no relevant (local) Regulatory requirements for yr Industry.


Whether baking is an adequate "kill" step has also been debated here before at some length, vis-a-vis Process vs  B.cereus spores et al.



Presumably another practical option is to reduce the time period for a given pair of gloves. One-day variety ?


I doubt that any FS Standards will support "no gloves" unless you can plausibly risk assess it as OK.


The previous debate for Chefs was, predictably, inconclusive. This time maybe not ?


PS - Welcome to the Forum !  :welcome:

Kind Regards,




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Posted 15 November 2017 - 07:50 PM

Hi Peter:


Well I can only speak from experience and brief discussions with auditors; in the bakeries that I have worked, gloves are not used in the mixing area. As you have stated, foreign matter contamination of it breaking down and ending up in the work in-progress or finished product. For us, potential customer complaint/lawsuit. As Charles C. rightly said, you have to do a risk assessment as to which practice severely affect that process, whether bare hands or glove usage.


For gloves, implementation of a foreign matter management program could be applied. A suggestion someone had made was to inspect the gloves after usage to ensure that they are intact and if not, at least you have an idea as to when they deteriorated in a specific batch. You could contact a study as to how long it takes for the gloves to deteriorate. At least then you would have an idea as to the frequency of changing them.


For bare hands, look into the microbial/hygiene consequences and whether you have an effective program in place. It microbes aren't associated with the ingredients then you have to look into what the mixers will bring to the table so to speak, i.e. faecal coliform, etc. This can be combat with a hand washing validation study as to effectiveness.




Gerard H.

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 08:22 PM

Dear Peter,


Yes, the risk of foreign bodies is very high, when using gloves under such conditions.


At the same time, you can start a project with the dough mixing team to minimise hand contact with the product.


The disadvantage and "danger" of using gloves is that even if these are getting dirty, you don't feel the need of going washing you hands. When you are not using gloves, you feel your hands getting dirty, giving certain a stimulance to wash them more often, which is good (when there are correct hand washing facilities).


Kind regards,


Gerard Heerkens

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