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Describe how to properly use single-use gloves

A general principle in the foodservice environment is to minimize bare hand contact with cooked or ready-to-eat foods. Bare hands can be a source of viruses and other harmful microorganisms. When properly used, single-use gloves can serve as an effective barrier between bare hands and food.

Hands must be washed properly before putting on gloves. Harmful microorganisms that are on unwashed hands could contaminate the gloves.

Proper use also includes changing gloves:

  • when they are torn;
  • before beginning a different task, such as washing tables and then preparing sandwiches;
  • at least every four hours during continual use, and more often when necessary; and
  • after handling raw meat and before handling cooked or ready-to-eat food.

Single-use gloves cannot be washed and re-used. After use, remove by peeling the cuff toward the fingers and then throwing them out.

Multiuse gloves, such as cloth gloves or dishwashing gloves, could be a source of cross-contamination. When they are used repeatedly and become soiled, they can become a breeding ground for harmful microorganisms that could be transferred to food or other surfaces. Multiuse gloves cannot be used for food preparation.

SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2001. Food Code. Washington, DC. The complete publication is available on-line at: