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Food Safety Focus (169th Issue, August 2020) – Food Incident Highlight

Importance of Proper Use of Disposable Gloves in Food Handling

In view of the current development of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong, more and more restaurant employees choose to use disposable gloves at work. There are concerns whether disposable gloves are being used properly. Of note, improper use of gloves not only equals unhygienic hands and increases the chance of cross-contamination as gloved hands can also take up bacteria like bare hands, but also gives food handlers a sense of false security against infections.

When wearing disposable gloves in handling ready-to-eat food, clean ones should be used to prevent contamination. One should wash hands properly before wearing and after removing gloves. Furthermore, gloves should be changed frequently, e.g. between different jobs and processes or when they are soiled. Gloves intended for single use should not be reused. Do remember that wearing disposable gloves cannot replace hand washing. Where possible, designated staff could be arranged for handling food, while other general staff could share duties such as handling payment or waste and carrying out cleaning work to further strengthen food safety.