Food Service Gloves (Frequently Asked Questions)

Why should I wear disposable gloves?
Disposable gloves can protect employees and patrons from food borne diseases. If gloves are worn on clean hands and changed properly, they can significantly reduce the risk of transmitting disease from a worker to a patron during food handling. They can also prevent cross-contamination during food preparation and protect the worker’s hands while performing general preparation of sanitation activities.

Are all disposable gloves the same?
No. Disposable gloves are made from several different materials that can affect the quality and performance of the glove. Generally, disposable gloves are made from Poly (Polyethylene), Vinyl (Polyvinyl Chloride), Nitrile (Acrylonitrile-butadiene) or Latex (Natural Rubber Latex). All of these gloves can provide a benefit for the intended application, but using the wrong glove for the wrong application can lead to ineffective performance of the glove.

Are all gloves the same quality?
No. Disposable gloves are manufactured in hundred of plants around the world and are sold in the United States. In the medical industry, all gloves are regulated by the FDA and must meet certain quality standards to insure a consistent, high quality product. Currently, the foodservice industry does not have any minimum quality standards for gloves and therefore the quality can vary from each supplier.

Do I still need to wash my hands?
Absolutely! Gloves are not a substitute for proper hygiene. Improper hand washing or glove use can reduce the effectiveness of both and increase the risk of transmitting a food borne disease. Regular hand washing combined with proper glove usage are effective ways to prevent food borne diseases.

When am I required to wash my hands?

  • before starting work

  • before putting on single use gloves

  • after touching raw, fresh or frozen beef, poultry, fish or meat

  • after mopping, sweeping, removing garbage or using the telephone

  • after using the bathroom

  • after smoking, eating, sneezing or drinking

  • after touching anything that might result in contamination of hands


How do I properly wash my hands and wear gloves?
Proper Hand Washing Techniques:

  • Wet your hands under warm running water

  • Use an antibacterial soap

  • Lather and rub hands together for at least 20 seconds

  • Dry hands with a paper towel or hot air dryer


Proper Glove Usage:

  • Ensure you have a proper fit

  • Change if gloves become soiled or torn

  • Use a fresh pair before starting a new task

  • Change gloves after four hours of use

  • New gloves must be used after handling raw meat and before handling cooked or ready-to-eat foods

Do I need a higher quality glove to prepare food?
Probably. This answer really depends on your application and what you plan to accomplish by wearing gloves. Poly gloves do not offer as much protection as latex or vinyl, but they are good for quick tasks like handling bakery products, deli meats, or money. If you applications call for more detailed preparation, then a higher quality glove is recommended for greater efficiency by the food handler and to provide adequate barrier protection from food borne diseases.

Must I change my gloves after handling money?
It is a good idea to change your gloves. Food outbreak investigations have not identified the handling of money as a cause of illness, but it is a good idea to change your gloves and wash your hands between touching money and preparing food. Many patrons complain to the local health department if they see food workers using the same gloves to prepare food and handle money. It is unappetizing to see and your customer will probably not come back for a second visit.

What is the powder that is in powdered gloves?
The powder in powdered gloves is modified cornstarch extra 226. Extra 226 is a modified cornstarch developed for use as the “absorbable dusting powder” for powdered gloves. It is manufactured under modern, sanitary conditions in conformance with the provision of the Federal Food Drug, Cosmetic Act. It also meets specifications of the United States Pharmacopocia (USP XXI). Extra 226 powder on hands after taken off powdered gloves shall not cause any harmful effect when in direct contact with foods.

Are latex gloves safe to use in foodservice?
Although the FDA has rejected an outright ban on the use of latex gloves in the foodservice industry, several states have either banned the use of latex gloves or restricted their use in some way.

These states include:

  • Connecticut

  • Delaware

  • Hawaii

  • Illinois

  • Indiana

  • Maine

  • Massachusetts

  • Minnesota

  • Nebraska

  • New York

  • Oregon

  • Pennsylvania

  • Rhode Island

  • Tennessee

  • Washington

  • Wisconsin

While it is important to think about your employees, it is also important to keep in mind the safety of your patrons. Put their minds at ease and use a latex-alternative such as vinyl or poly gloves in your chocolate fountain rental business.