Gloves may be used by food handlers but must be changed frequently and hands must be washed between glove changes and when gloves are removed. Gloves must be changed after carrying out non-food related activities such as opening/closing doors by hand, and emptying bins. Food handlers should be aware that wearing gloves can allow bacteria to build up on the surface of the hands, so hand washing is extremely important when gloves are removed to avoid subsequent contamination of food. Food handlers should not touch their mouth, nose and eyes when wearing gloves.
Disposable gloves can give a false sense of safety and should not be used in the food work environment as a substitute for hand washing. The COVID-19 virus can contaminate disposable gloves in the same way it can get onto workers hands and contact surfaces. Removal of disposable gloves can lead to contamination of hands. Wearing disposable gloves can give you a false sense of security and may result in staff not washing hands as frequently as required.
Handwashing is a greater protective barrier to infection than wearing of disposable gloves. Food businesses need to ensure adequate sanitary facilities are provided and ensure food handlers thoroughly and frequently wash their hands. Soap and water is adequate for hand washing. Hand sanitizers can be used as an additional measure but should not replace hand washing.
Wearing of Face Masks
WHO advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19 should be followed. food handling activities, such as working in abattoirs or handling cooked, ready-to-eat foods, wearing face masks is a usual practice. Facemasks should be used if a person is sick with symptoms of COVID-19 (especially coughing) or looking after someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
However, a food worker who is sick or who has symptoms of COVID-19 should not be allowed to work in grocery stores or other food businesses and should be excluded from work until free of symptoms or deemed fit for work by a medical doctor.