Ohhh, rubber gloves. Grab something to drink and get comfortable.
First off let me just say because there are rules in the heath industry guidelines ( hereafter referred to for simplicity as HIG) it doesn't neccessarily mean that I agree with them.
For starters latex is out! Synthetic latex is in.
It has come to HI awareness that there are a number of people out there who have allergies or reactions to latex.
HIG says that all ready to eat foods must be handled with gloves.
This means veggies, jerky, meat, bread, or any product that is going directly to the consumer.
Chad is right on when he pointed out that gloves are not necessary when handling meats or other food items that have yet to be cooked.
HIG also states that the proper procedure for glove wearing is this:
Wash hands thoroughly including forearms up to the elbows.
Dry hands on clean dry towel and apply gloves. When the gloves become dirty or torn, remove gloves. Wash hands again and apply new gloves.
I'm with KCquer on this one. If I just washed my hands thoroughly, how much cleaner is a pair of gloves going to be? ( More on this in a bit)
HIG also says to treat gloved hands the same as bare hands.
In other words if you touch something dirty or contaminated, you would then need to change gloves, the same as needing to rewash hands.
Who are these gloves for anyway?
Mostly they are for the protection of the general public. Not the food handler.
We have reached a point (some years ago) when the pork industry cleaned up their act, and trichinosis also known as Anisakas, has been pretty much irradicated.
So the need to protect yourself from raw pork really isn't an issue.
A number of years ago while working in a restaurant kitchen, I found myself feeling terribly ill almost every evening halfway through my shift.
This hadn't happened the previous six months that I worked there, so I wasn't sure what was causing this. Well to make a long story short I started using tongs when handling the meat. I all of a sudden had no problems. I slowly started backing off from the tongs, until one night the illness returned. It was the marinated chicken! The marinade wasn't being changed daily, and I was developing salmonella every night.
If you have any open wounds on your hands, they need to be cleaned and gloved. Period.
So do we need to wear gloves when handling raw meat? The answer is no.
Should we? Not a bad idea.
Its also a good idea to wear them when applying rubs. If you have ever accidently rubbed an eye with seasonings on your hands, you can testify as to the discomfort.
I have gone around and around with the health dept. lady here over the glove issue. On one visit she saw me wash my hands, open a bag of jerky, place a piece in a serving dish and take it to a customer. She busted my chops for not using gloves.
I do feel it is best to wear them, needed or not when in customer view.
Thanks for all the input!