There are several factors that determine the need for glove use in the food industry. In particular, gloves are most often required in retail establishments serving “ready to eat” food. Los Amigos is classified as a manufacturing facility producing products for further processing or cooking. Additionally, none of our raw materials are considered at high risk for spoilage as we use no dairy, meat or poultry products whatsoever and as such, the risk of salmonella or other food borne illnesses is nearly nonexistent.
Los Amigos operates under the guise of the GA Department of Agriculture and the FDA, both of whom inspect us on a regular basis. It is generally accepted that proper hand washing is more important than glove use in our industry. I can assure you that our employees are properly trained in hand washing and hand wash sinks with antibacterial soap are provided not only in restroom facilities but also on the actual plant floor in and around the production areas. But again, the key is the classification of our industry as not “ready to eat” or the “retail” level. As a whole, our products will be further processed, fried, baked or otherwise heated before consumption.
The importance is awareness and proper hand washing. A person wearing latex glove can just as easily touch their nose or mouth area and that glove will be just as contaminated as an ungloved hand. Again, we teach proper hand washing and assure that hand wash sinks are provided in employee restrooms and on the actual plant floor.
I have myself been in establishments watching people wear a nice pair of latex gloves and proceed to handle money and then prepare a sandwich. I’d much rather see that person handle money then wash their hands before preparing food.
I do appreciate your comments and I invite you to visit the FDA and GA Department of Agriculture websites if you wish to further research the issue. Los Amigos has been in operation for over 42 years and we take food safety very seriously. Should either the FDA or GA Dept of Agriculture change their opinions on hand washing and sanitization versus simply putting on a pair of gloves, we will certainly follow their directives.