Food-service gloves in modern times are a mixed blessing. Here’s a brief summary of pros and cons for using them.
• When properly used, gloves can substantially reduce opportunities for food contamination.
• They protect the food from direct hand contact and protect skin from irritants.
• They cover skin cuts, burns and/or infections.
• They can prevent the transmission of allergens from one food to another, such as when preparing fish and then shellfish sushi.
• Special gloves are good for peeling just-roasted chestnuts and pulling warm taffy.
• Gloves can reduce dexterity and increase the risk of injury when working with sharp knives.
• Higher levels of food contamination are possible because the moist environment inside the gloves acts like a bacteria factory.
• A small percentage of gloves have pinhole leaks that are not possible to detect before use.
• They are often worn for longer than they should be and give a false sense of security as a substitute for good hand hygiene practices.
• They are costly, can’t be recycled or reused, and are made from non-renewable resources.