A new study has made official what restaurant cooks have known for years: wearing gloves does not guarantee better hygiene.
Food Safety News reports that the study, published in the Journal of Food Protection, found that wearing gloves is not in and of itself enough to promote food safety, and may even undermine it by promoting a false sense of good hygiene. Not only do cooks wearing gloves often not bother to change them when they’re dirty, the heat and moisture trapped between their hands and gloves creates a bacterial playground. And once the gloves tear even a little bit, those bacteria develop sudden and serious wanderlust.
The longer gloves are worn, the less effective barrier they are to contamination. But washing one’s hands thoroughly — in other words, practicing actual hygiene? That’s effective. Way more so than wearing a ripped pair of gloves that have been used to wipe down surfaces with bleach rags, handle raw chicken, and take out the trash. Not necessarily in that order.