Technical Writing

Gloves are commonly used throughout the food and beverage industry in order to ensure sanitary standards are met while handling consumables. These gloves help prevent the spread of bacteria from workers to the products they are in contact with. However, it’s a regular sight to see major companies within the food and beverage industry declaring a re-call of ingredients due to contamination. Could these businesses simply be lacking in food and safety regulations or is there an overlooked issue that isn’t being addressed? The Australian Medical Journal posted a study which possesses conclusive data that states gloves could be a possible medium in the transfer of pathogens and harmful bacteria. The study was conducted within a hospital’s orthopedic ward in order to derive whether or not gloves can be “Pathogen transmission vehicles” as stated within the study.

Results showed that health care workers transmitted skin commensals and pathogenic bacteria into glove boxes which declares gloves as “Pathogen transmission vehicles.” Although this study was conducted within the medical field, it certainly pertains to the food and beverage industry as sanitary standards are lower than those regulated within the medical field. This can pose a major threat to people eating out at any food and beverage provider that utilizes gloves while preparing meals. There is an innumerable amount of businesses within the food and beverage industry that have a policy for their employees to use gloves whenever in contact with food. This article isn’t an attack on the usage of gloves but instead states how hygienic standards should be renovated and made stricter in order to prevent illnesses from occurring. The study posted within the Australian Medical Journal linked the transferring of pathogens and harmful bacteria to the following: “Hand washing guidelines, common glove retrieval practice, and glove-box design as targets for decreasing bacteria transmission via gloves.”

The study also stated various points to help understand how gloves were being contaminated within the hospital ward. It’s very first criticism was the following: “In a hospital ward setting, unused non-sterile disposable gloves(NSDG) may become contaminated with skin commensals and pathogens during the act of glove retrieval.” The study concludes its remarks with the following helpful suggestions: “Glove box design and glove withdrawal technique could be further examined to decrease the potential for pathogen transfer to unused gloves.” All of these points can also prove themselves helpful within the food and beverage industry if correctly applied.

Although it seems that gloves do more harm than good, the study also found that only 13.5% of gloves carried a pathogen or harmful bacteria. This study’s results declare how sanitary methods and glove retrieval techniques should be enhanced in order to reduce the number of transmissions annually. 13.5% may seem to be a small numerical value but it still has the potential to spread infections and diseases. This study should be taken into deep contemplation for all industries that utilize gloves as a means of protection and sanitation.