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The placebo effect.

I'm a strong advocate of food safety. Food professionals should be. I'm a strong advocate for professional training and testing in the area of food safety. Having said that, except in some specific situations, I am not an advocate for full-time glove use. Even companies like ServSafe that provide training on safe food handling don't really advocate that. Go to the ServSafe website and look at the pics of cooks and food. No gloves.

Except in certain situations, gloves are merely a placebo. If you're wearing gloves full-time they'll wind up just as contaminated as a bare hand would. Sure, you could keep on changing them every few minutes, but that's not really going to happen. Recently in a supermarket I came across a woman giving out free food samples. She was wearing gloves. I noticed that she had also been talking on her cell phone while wearing the gloves. I doubt the gloves sanitized any viruses or bacteria that had transferred from her mouth and ear, to the cellphone, to her gloves. (I passed on the free sample, by the way.)

The key to safe food handling is simply to handle it safely. Wash hands regularly as needed. Avoid cross contaminations. Inhibit bacteriological growth by paying attention to the temperatures that proteins are exposed to and for how long that happens. That kind of stuff.

The general public may feel safer seeing cooks wearing gloves, but for the most part that's just the placebo effect kicking in.


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