Food Safety

“Most people do not think about foodborne illness until they become ill from unknowingly eating contaminated food. While the food supply in the United States is one of the safest in the world, each year about 76 million illnesses occur, more than 300,000 persons are hospitalized, and 5,000 die from foodborne illness. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)”

A wide range of communicable diseases and infections may be transmitted by infected food employees to consumers through food or food utensils. To reduce this risk, public health authorities have proposed glove use. For food safety, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not believe that hand washing with soap and water or even the use of alcohol hand sensitizers may be sufficient to prevent viral transmission. The 2009 Food Code prohibition by the FDA for bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food [3-301-11(B)] is meant to be an important public health intervention intended to prevent the transmission of fecal-oral route microbial pathogens from infected food workers' bare hands to ready-to-eat foods. This calls for the use of gloves or utensils wherever appropriate.

Of greatest concern are Norovirus, Hepatitis A virus, Salmonella Typhii and Shigella species, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These are extremely infectious fecal oral route pathogens. They are spread in high numbers especially through stools (1,000,000 viral particles/gram of feces) during peak infectivity, but with extremely low infectious dose (10-100 virus particles/gram of feces with Norovirus).

“For ASTM Food Service Glove Standard (D 7329-07), please click on http://www.astm.org/Standards/D7329.htm

In the FDA Food Code, gloves used in contact with food are covered under Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). They are required to be maintained in clean, intact and sanitary conditions [110.10(b)(5)]; for repeat contact with food items they are regulated under 21 CFR 177.2600 as indirect food additives.

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