Avian Flu: Barrier Protection in Food Processing


Recent cases of avian flu strain H5N8 found in chicken flocks in Oregon, California and Washington have emphasized why disposable gloves are a necessity in the food processing industry.

According The Wall Street Journal, these cases became evident in December 2014 and have led China to ban all imports of poultry and eggs from the U.S. Furthermore, many other countries have implemented similar bans on the U.S. as a whole or only from certain states.

These bans indicate how dangerous the virus is, which is why food processing workers should wear gloves. This safety practice helps slow the spread of avian flu and helps guard workers against infection. The World Health Organization indicated that while many strains of avian flu do not affect humans, some strains lead to serious infections.

The University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy stated avian flu outbreaks are present in four continents, which means food processing workers must be diligent while handling domestic and imported foul. Anti-microbial vinyl gloves are useful in this situation, as the glove material disrupts cell walls to prevent microorganism growth on the glove.

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AMMEXAvian Flu: Barrier Protection in Food Processing
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Disposable Gloves in the Food Industry


When it comes to disposable glove usage in the food processing and food service industries, the phrase “less is more” finds a home.

These industries have the highest glove usage of all sectors – 20 pairs per worker each day on average. However, employees use some of the most affordable glove materials: polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride. Because these gloves are inexpensive, they’re perfect for the two food industries, where workers change gloves often.

Consider the combined 2012 disposable glove revenue for these industries, which was $3.3 billion and the second-highest among all industries. With an affordable price point, imagine how many pairs of gloves that figure represents. Customers can purchase a lot of gloves to get the protection they need at a low price. In the end, poly and vinyl gloves offer the value and ease food service workers need.  Become an AMMEX distributor today to learn more about gloves suitable for the food industry.

“Take a look at this handy infographic to determine the right glove for the right job in the food industry.”

AMMEX-Disposable-Gloves-Market-Growth

 

 

AMMEXDisposable Gloves in the Food Industry
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The Many Uses for Gloves in a Facility


There are various types of facilities, each of which having numerous applications that require disposable gloves. Within these facilities, numerous tasks – some core to the business and other supporting – are undertaken, and each of these instances requires a certain level of protection.

Here are some examples of activities at large facilities and how gloves are be beneficial to each:

  • Cleaning and janitorial staff: These workers need gloves for protection from the harsh chemicals in the cleaning supplies they use. Additionally, they must protect themselves from pathogens while sanitizing restrooms. Nitrile or vinyl gloves are used for these workers, as nitrile holds up to harsh chemicals, and vinyl is perfect for many glove changes between tasks.
  • Childcare: Some facilities have childcare services for employees on site. Daycare employees wear gloves as a protective barrier for themselves and the children. Gloves are donned for diaper changes, cleaning up messes, cleaning toys and feeding children.
  • First aid: This is another area where gloves serve as a protective barrier between wearers and the individuals. Nitrile exam gloves, for example, safeguard employees administering first aid against bloodborne pathogens and other diseases and are latex free.
  • Cafeteria: Three glove types are used in this area. Vinyl gloves appear in food production, poly gloves are used in food service and nitrile gloves are donned for heavier-duty, longer-period use. Many facilities prefer the use of antimicrobial vinyl gloves as an added layer of protection.
“When maintenance workers at industrial manufacturing facilities repair machines and fleet vehicles, they should protect their hands with disposable gloves.”
  • Line workers, assembler and fabricators: Workers on a factory floor handle harmful materials and substances. In battery manufacturing and processing plants, for example, lead is present during the manufacturing process. Employees who are exposed to these risks need protection for their hands while they work. Nitrile gloves, which are made of a highly chemically resistant synthetic rubber, are a suitable choice. Plus, they conform more closely to the hand as they are warmed by body heat, which allows for additional dexterity.
  • Maintenance: This area includes repairs to machinery used for manufacturing processes and to a facility’s fleet of transport vehicles. Maintenance workers come into contact with grease, gasoline and other solvents and need protection for their hands as they make repairs.
  • Packaging: Workers in this part of the manufacturing process are also subject to food safety regulations if foodstuffs and other consumables are being packaged. Furthermore, glove usage preserves the integrity of the packaging by preventing fingerprints.
  • Printing workers: Industrial printers use chemicals to produce printed labels and other items for their products. These chemicals include emulsions, inks, oxidizers and solvents. Disposable gloves protect workers’ hands from health risks, such as nervous system damage, that occur through skin absorption. Due to these chemical hazards, nitrile gloves are the solution in this case.
  • Security guards: These employees conduct inspections of other workers and need to wear gloves when doing so. Gloves protect security guards against contracting illnesses from persons they come in physical contact with.
AMMEXThe Many Uses for Gloves in a Facility
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Know Your Glove Materials: Part IV Poly


Polyethylene is the most affordable glove material and is used in the food service industry. Food service workers need a glove with enough durability for short-duration tasks, and poly gloves are the right choice.

What is polyethylene?
Like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene was first created by accident. German chemist Hans von Pechmann made the first polyethylene in 1898. In 1933, Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett, two scientists at Imperial Chemical Industries, also accidentally created polyethylene, and their employer would be the driving force behind the material’s innovation in early years.

Polyethylene is a polymer that is synthesized from ethylene and a thermoplastic that is formed into various shapes as it cools from a liquid state to a solid state.

There are different forms of polyethylene, with one being high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is the harder form of the plastic. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is thinner, less opaque than HDPE and used to make plastic grocery bags, dispensing bottles and disposable gloves. It is a flexible and tough material though not as durable as other glove materials.

LDPE is a non-leaching plastic in its natural state. This means it will not release unwanted chemicals into food, which is why poly gloves are suitable for the food service industry. Additionally, LDPE is used for creating protective film for food packaging.

Two polyethylene sheets are seamed and sealed with heat to create disposable gloves. Because poly gloves are not dipped like latex, nitrile and vinyl gloves, they are not impervious to liquids. Vinyl gloves are a suitable alternative for food services tasks where liquids are present.

“Poly gloves are made from low-density polyethylene.”

What are the benefits of poly gloves?
The food service industry requires workers to change their gloves often. In a sandwich deli, for instance, an employee would make one customer’s order. Afterward, he or she should follow proper handwashing guidelines and don a new pair of gloves for the next customer. Given the frequency of these changes, the industry requires a cost-effective glove material, which is why poly gloves are the preferred choice.

Poly gloves are also powder and latex free. Both traits are beneficial for preventing allergic reactions among workers and customers. Given that the gloves directly touch food that is ingested, the latex and corn proteins that cause the reaction could easily enter a customer’s body, possibly leading to a more severe reaction. Poly gloves are a safe alternative.

AMMEXKnow Your Glove Materials: Part IV Poly
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How Ill-Fitting Gloves can Compromise Safety


When employers require their employees to wear disposable gloves, they must ensure the proper glove material and sizes are used. If not, workers may neglect their compliance responsibilities. Don’t let ill-fitting gloves compromise your safety, and find the right sized gloves for your application.

Why You Should Use the Proper Sized Gloves

This was one finding noted in research by Ethan Bernstein, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. While examining how factory-floor workers behaved when they were being watch compared to when they were not, he discovered employees will not properly wear their sized gloves if they did not fit correctly, particularly if the gloves reduced productivity, according to Business Insider.

In some cases, employees wore only one glove or cut off the fingertips to increase their working speed. This can present health and safety risks for employees and consumers. In the food processing industry, for instance, gloves help prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses such as listeria and salmonella. Additionally, gloves protect consumers against poor worker hygiene.

In the food processing industry, in particular, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or vinyl, gloves are typically used. For his experiment, Bernstein noticed the glove material makes all the difference. For example, latex or nitrile gloves, which conform more closely to the hand than other glove materials, would be suitable for handling small parts.

Given the speed required in manufacturing, having the right sized gloves is essential. Consequently, employers must ensure their workers have gloves that fit properly. Incorrect sizing can reduce comfort and increase the risk of tearing. By finding the right material and following best practices for donning gloves, employers can ensure workers are adhering to procedures and protecting themselves and consumers.

If you need help finding the right sized gloves to fit your needs, check out our AMMEX Glove Size Chart.

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AMMEXHow Ill-Fitting Gloves can Compromise Safety
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The Right Gloves for the Job: Part III Food Service

The Right Gloves for the Job:  Part III Food Service – The food service industry has many of the same hygiene and contamination concerns of the food processing industry. Food service encompasses anywhere food is served. Sit-down restaurants, food trucks and college campus cafeterias are all part of the food service industry. In these and similar locations, food is prepared and served, and consumers often see workers having direct contact with the food.

Due to the nature of the food service industry – workers directly hand food to consumers – disposable glove usage in this sector is common. The U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) requires all employees to wash their hands if they make contact with food. However, employers can only partially monitor their employees hand washing practices and hand washing may not always be enough to stop the spread of germs from hands to food.  Disposable food service gloves are useful in the food service industry because employers can visibly monitor their workers’ food safety practices, and consumers get peace of mind that there is a barrier between food service employees’ hands and their food.

“The FDA recommends the use of barrier protection such as disposable food service gloves to stop the spread of germs in the food service industry.”

 

One key facet of the food service industry is workers tend to switch between various light-duty tasks, and they need a disposable glove material that can accommodate their workflow. That is where polyethylene (PE), also known as poly, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), also known as vinyl, gloves come in.

“Poly gloves have a looser fit so they are easier to don and doff.”

A looser fit at an affordable price with poly gloves
To avoid cross contamination, food service employees switch gloves often. If an employee were to go from preparing food to serving food, for instance, he or she would need to change gloves. Given the fast pace that can be common in this industry – during a lunch-hour rush, for example – these workers need a glove they can slip on and off quickly. For instance, sandwich shop workers use new gloves for each customer.

Poly gloves, which are latex free, fit this description. Disposable food service gloves are made from two sheets of polyethylene film. The sheets are seamed and sealed with heat to create the gloves.This glove material is thin and inexpensive. Considering employees switch gloves often, there is no need to use a more heavy-duty glove material such as nitrile or latex. Poly gloves are powder free. They do not conform to the hand as closely as other glove materials for easy donning and doffing. However, this feature also means less dexterity, but the gloves can be textured for better grip.

“There are antimicrobial versions of vinyl gloves, which stop the growth of microorganisms.“

More dexterity with vinyl gloves
A staple in the food processing industry, latex-free, powder-free vinyl disposable gloves are a staple in the food service industry. Like poly gloves, vinyl products are affordable and suitable for both food processing and food service applications. There are also antimicrobial vinyl gloves, which stop the growth of microorganisms. This feature is beneficial for preventing the spread of harmful bacteria that can contaminate the glove and other surfaces.

Vinyl gloves have two advantages compared to poly gloves: They conform more closely to the hand and provide better dexterity. If an employee needs to handle a small amount of garnish, for example, he or she can have an easier time grasping the correct amount with vinyl gloves.

Why not latex or nitrile?
As with any industry, end users and consumers can have latex allergies. Even if employees are able to wear the gloves without trouble, they could transfer latex proteins to the foods they handle, thereby causing a consumer to experience an allergic reaction. Nitrile is latex free, but its level of durability and price are not practice for gloves that are going to be changed often.

In the end, poly and vinyl gloves offer the value and ease food service workers need.  Become an AMMEX distributor today to add poly or vinyl disposable food service gloves to your product lineup.

AMMEXThe Right Gloves for the Job: Part III Food Service
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The Right Gloves for the Job: Part II Food Processing


Workers in the food processing industry should be required to wear appropriate disposable food processing gloves to protect consumers who eat the foods they handle.

Why You Need the Right Food Processing Gloves

Workers come in contact with a variety of foods, which can carry bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses such as listeria and salmonella. There are also bacteria that are transferred from humans to food as a result of poor hygiene, such as E.coli, hepatitis A and staphylococcus. Disposable gloves can serve as a barrier between workers hands and these bacteria to lessen the chance of transmission to consumers.

Listeria, for example, is found in soil and water and can be present in uncooked meats and vegetables. Food processing plant workers who do not wear disposable gloves can contaminate their hands if they come into contact with a Listeria-infected food product, thereby leading to cross contamination of other foods they handle. This can result in widespread transmission of Listeria throughout the facility. Stop the spread of unwanted contaminants with the proper food processing gloves.

Additionally, it is not easy for employers to help monitor how well employees wash their hands. However, they can implement a glove program to prevent contamination and employee illnesses from being transmitted to food products. Not only does donning gloves aid in preventing the spread of foodborne illnesses, but it is also mandated by certain government regulations.

 “FDA food contact rules regarding disposable gloves are in place to protect workers in the food processing industry and consumers.  Antimicrobial vinyl gloves prevent the growth of microorganisms by disrupting cell walls.”

Regulations that mandate protective clothing 

The U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has several rules regarding the necessity of gloves for food contact. These rules are in place to protect workers in the food processing industry and consumers.

Here are some the FDA’s Food Code provisions regarding glove usage:

  • Workers must minimize bare hand and arm contact with exposed food that is not ready to eat.
  • Gloves or utensils such as tongs and spatulas must be used for contact with exposed, ready-to-eat foods except when washing fruits and vegetables.
  • Gloves can be used for a single task and must be discarded when workers switch to a new task, the gloves become soiled or the task is interrupted.

The FDA also requires all food processing employees wash their hands. This step can reduce the chance of contamination because it prevents pathogens and other hazardous materials from touching the inside of the glove – one of many best practices for donning gloves.

These regulations make it clear, food processing workers are required to don gloves in certain cases, but which glove is most common in this industry?

Polyvinyl chloride gloves in the food processing industry
Workers who handle food often wear vinyl gloves which are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or simply vinyl, gloves. These are among the least expensive types of gloves and conform to the hand more loosely than nitrile or latex.

One key aspect of vinyl gloves is they are not as durable as other disposable glove materials. While this characteristic may be a detriment for gloves used in other industries where long-lasting puncture and tear resistance over time are important, vinyl gloves’ durability is suitable for food industry standards. This is particularly true in applications that require frequent glove changes.  Another option is blue vinyl gloves. The blue material is easier to find should a piece of the gloves become lost in a food product.

A recent advancement is the development of antimicrobial vinyl gloves that provide additional protection built into the glove material. These gloves prevent the growth of microorganisms by disrupting cell walls. Their antimicrobial and antifungal properties are mixed into the glove material rather than sprayed on so the additional protection cannot be rubbed or washed away.

If food processing employees are handling raw meat at one moment and then need to handle raw vegetables, they need to change their gloves, per the FDA regulations, to avoid cross contamination. In cases where workers need to change gloves often, low-cost vinyl gloves are a great food processing gloves option.

AMMEXThe Right Gloves for the Job: Part II Food Processing
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