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Unless maintained in a clean and untorn condition, gloves can become a source of contamination. Always wash hands thoroughly before and after wearing gloves, and when changing to a new pair of gloves.

Single-use Gloves

Single-use gloves are just that – use only once and for one specific purpose only.

When used appropriately, single-use gloves:

  • Can help reduce the spread of disease causing organisms to ready-to-eat foods by infected food workers.
  • Are an addition, not a substitute, for proper hand washing.

Requirements for use:

  • Correctly sized to your hands
  • Changed between handling raw foods and cooked or ready-to-eat foods
  • Discarded when torn, contaminated, or removed for any reason
  • Changed when interruptions occur in the operation
  • Changed to minimize build-up of perspiration and bacteria inside the glove.
  • Never immersed past the cuff.
  • Never reused under any circumstances

Latex Gloves

A significant number of people are allergic to latex. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends non-latex gloves be used by food employees.

Rewashable Rubber or Neoprene Gloves

These gloves are designed for handling hot ready-to-eat foods and must be smooth and easily cleanable. Food establishments must have procedures to ensure these gloves are routinely cleaned and sanitized, and not subject to cross contamination.

Cloth Gloves

Cloth gloves may not be used in direct contact with ready-to-eat foods. They must be discarded or cleaned and sanitized regularly.


Note: This document is for educational purposes only and should not be considered a replacement to reading the Food Code and Michigan Food Law of 2000. Food safety information and additional copies of this and other fact sheets are available at