The Gloves Are On? Should Chefs Wear Disposable Gloves?

This January (2014) saw a new law come into effect in the state of California requiring all chefs to wear single-use disposable gloves when preparing ready-to-eat meals.  Please note this article is now 3 years old.  Newer information can be found at the bottom of this post.

Restaurants and food companies will have six months to implement the change.

And it doesn’t simply affect chefs – bartenders, too, have to wear gloves to prepare drinks, as they cannot touch ice, fruit garnishes, or anything else that goes in the glass.

Should all chefs have to wear gloves when preparing food?

How would we feel if these changes were implemented in the UK?

In the UK current regulations stipulate that it’s not a requirement to wear gloves when preparing food. However, gloves may be worn provided they are kept clean and are changed regularly after handling raw foods.

It’s a requirement that all food handlers maintain excellent standards of personal hygiene, which means they’re expected to wash their hands frequently. They should always wear gloves if they have a cut or sore on their hands.

Advantages of Wearing Gloves

One pro is that gloves act as a barrier for germs so they prevent the spread of food poisoning pathogens, and various strains of cold and flu viruses, making them essential in preventing food poisoning outbreaks. They also protect food from being contaminated by dirty fingernails, or from rings dropping off, for instance.

Fish preparationAn area where gloves are especially useful is the preparation of raw fish items, such as sushi. If a chef has been preparing shellfish sushi, then takes an order for a customer who’s allergic to shellfish, they can change gloves and feel confident that their customer is safe from harm.

Chefs wearing gloves also contributes to a positive customer perception regarding the cleanliness of an establishment or business.

Disadvantages of Wearing Gloves

Hand washingGloves can cause a false sense of cleanliness. The outside of a glove is just as likely to be contaminated as a bare hand, so they must be disposed of whenever a food handler would normally wash their hands. However, it’s more likely a food handler would notice juices on their bare hands than on the surface of a glove, which means they might not notice when they need to change them.

Gloves must be changed on a regular basis, as the warm, moist conditions can promote the multiplication of bacteria and act as a breeding ground for germs.

Gloves cause an additional hazard, as they can be punctured or torn, causing small pieces of glove to fall unseen into food.

Finally, a food handler who’s using gloves properly will use lots of disposable gloves, which is a waste of valuable resources and can slow down food preparation.

The Customer Viewpoint

It’s believed that customers are likely to feel more confident if their food is prepared by somebody wearing gloves. However, customer reaction to the new law has been generally negative, with customers commenting:

“This is Nanny-Stateism at its worst!” and, “This is large scale, blind regulation based on pandering to fear, not fact.”

In addition, many commented on the irony of LA banning the use of plastic bags for environmental reasons, only to introduce single-use disposable gloves for food preparation.

Whether or not a food handler wears gloves when preparing food, it’s of paramount importance that they follow proper food safety regulations, and either wash their hands regularly or change gloves frequently, ensuring they wash their hands properly with each change.

How do you feel about these changes?
Chef’s, bartenders, restaurateurs, diners – we would like to know your thoughts.

For those looking to bring their food safety skills up to date check out some of TutorCare’s Food Safety Training courses that are now available online.  Alternatively if you work in the Restaurant sector have a look at our latest blog post relating to Food Safety In Restaurants.  Updated for 2017.

 

SB.02/17

Norovirus breakout in three Welsh hospitals

Norovirus, or the winter sickness bug as it’s known to many, has caused five wards in two South Wales hospitals to close.

Morriston Hospital has closed two wards and Neath Port Talbot Hospital has closed three after reported outbreaks of norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting. University Hospital Llandough has also suffered three ward closures.

Due to the outbreaks, the health board have advised a “sensible” approach to visiting, advising anyone who has to visit to follow “the advice at the entrances to wards and practice good hand hygiene”, in order to avoid spreading the infection.

Dr Eleri Davies, the director for infection prevention and control said:

“It is very difficult to stop the spread of norovirus once it is in hospital so we are asking the public to help support us by restricting visiting to what is absolutely necessary.”

The health board have expressed the importance of avoiding the hospitals unless absolutely necessary, which means assessing the seriousness of any injury or illness and selecting the correct service rather than merely descending on emergency departments. The emergency departments should only be used when absolutely necessary. “By doing this you will receive appropriate care as quickly as possible and free up our emergency doctors to see those patients who need them most.”

Four-year-old boy dies due to neglect in Bristol hospital

An inquest into the death of four-year-old Sean Turner, who died at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children in 2012, has begun. Sean Turner was born with heart problems that should have been rectified when he went into surgery at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, but what should have been the start of the rest of his life quickly turned to disaster when he suffered a cardiac arrest and later a brain haemorrhage.

Accounts from his mother and father suggest that it was neglect that led to the boy’s death as “nobody would listen” when they asked for help. He was reportedly moved from intensive care to a ward far too soon and became so dehydrated and neglected, “he was taking the tissues used to cool his head and sucking the fluid from them”.

Despite their praise for the care Sean received from the nurses in the paediatric intensive care unit, the care he received on the ward wasn’t up to standard:

“As far as I am aware the nurses on the paediatric intensive care unit cared for Sean in a very high standard at times, unlike the care he received on Ward 32, where the nurses were just not around.”

Doctors informed his parents that Sean would be in intensive care for around five days after his operation. However, he was there for little more than 18 hours as, his parents were told, the bed was needed.

After a collapse and loss of fluid from his chest, Sean was moved back to intensive care where he continued to make progress over a period of 11 days. However, he was then moved back to ward 32 where he deteriorated quickly.

On the ward, which was described as busy and chaotic, Sean’s parents were taught, by nurses, how to silence alarms that sounded to monitor Sean’s condition.

On February 16th 2012, Sean Turner suffered a heart attack: “I shouted at the lady doctor that something was wrong but she just stood frozen to the spot, staring at us”, is how Steve Turner, Sean’s father, describes the moment his son went into cardiac arrest in his arms.

Further surgery was performed on Sean to remove fluid from around his heart and lungs and on 5thMarch he was taken to surgery again where he suffered a huge bleed on his brain and died only hours after.

Pensioner dies after 42-minute wait for ambulance that was waiting at hospital for five hours

Fred Pring died at home after waiting for 42 minutes for an ambulance, according to reports. The 74-year-old, who had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, waited for over 42 minutes for an ambulance, despite a fully staffed and fully operational ambulance service in the area on that particular day.

Despite seven ambulances and a rapid response vehicle covering the area on that day in March 2013, Mr Pring died at home while waiting for emergency response when one ambulance waited outside Wrexham Maelor Hospital for nearly five hours when trying to drop off a patient, while a different ambulance had been at the same hospital for over 90 minutes.

Mr Pring’s case had been assessed as a ‘red two’ call which is less of a priority than ‘red one’ which is seen as life threatening. However, in this instance it really didn’t matter about the category that Mr Pring had been assigned to as the ambulance was significantly longer than the target eight minute arrival time for either classification.

A pathologist, from the Home Office, said that it would be hard to answer the question of whether Mr Pring would have survived if an ambulance had arrived sooner; however, Mr Pring’s cardiologist said, during Thursday’s hearing into his death, that had an ambulance arrived after the first emergency call, he would have survived.

Care worker files complaint regarding neglect of 91 year old

A care worker, who believes a 91-year old patient was seriously neglected in an NHS hospital, has filed a formal complaint.

Joanne Connah, a Mencap support worker from Sudbury, accompanied the woman – who suffers from early onset dementia and bowel cancer – in her own time to West Suffolk Hospital last Thursday.

The lady was referred to the hospital after developing an infection but during her four and a half hour stay in the Accident and Emergency department, despite vomiting and being confused, “she was barely checked upon, had not seen a doctor and was not put on any fluids.”

The complainant also claims that the woman was not offered a drink, was left in a room without access to toilet facilities – despite her mobility problems – and didn’t have her temperature taken until three hours after her arrival.

Connah who has now lodged a formal complaint against the hospital said:

“(The patient) was seriously neglected by the staff at the hospital. They did not provide her with the level of care and respect she deserved and so desperately required. Instead they left a vulnerable, frail and scared 91-year-old lady to fend for herself.”

A spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital said that the complaint hadn’t yet been looked into as it had only recently been received but went on to say: “We take every complaint we receive seriously and will investigate fully.”

Cambridgeshire eateries receive zero star rating from Food Standards Agency

Five Cambridgeshire eateries have received a zero out of five rating from the Food Standards Agency.

The rating is established according to how closely the companies follow food hygiene requirements set out in food hygiene law.

When premises are inspected, they are rated for a number of things:

  • Compliance with food hygiene law
  • Compliance with safety procedures
  • Compliance with structural requirements
  • Confidence in management

Once everything has been inspected, a score between zero and five is given. At one time or another, every eating establishment that you come across will have been rated by the Food Standards Agency, including hospitals, schools, care homes, restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, sandwich shops, hotels, supermarkets, bakeries and delis.

Muddabir Hussein, manager of Oliver’s Lodge Hotel which was given a rating of zero on their initial inspection has said:

“We had a review recently and all the things have improved since then. We have made changes and the environment officer has said that things have vastly improved. We are expecting a surprise visit in the coming months which will give us a new rating.”

Along with the five establishments that were given the lowest possible rating, a further 82 eating establishments – 30 of which are in the city centre – were given a rating of one.

Shelley Rudman suffers food poisoning during Winter Olympics training

There’s less than a month to go until the Winter Olympics in Sochi and Britain’s Shelley Rudman is recovering from a nasty bout of food poisoning followed by a chest infection, seriously hampering her preparations.

Rudman is the World Champion in the skeleton bobsleigh and the final stages of training were going well until, in her own words: “I had a little blip on my journey home from Canada to the UK just before Christmas when I was hit by food poisoning – every athlete’s worst nightmare.”

It isn’t known where Rudman contracted food poisoning. However, she did say that she’d like to say a big thank you to the doctors and crew that were on board as they looked after her really well. That wasn’t the end of it though, as after recovering from the food poisoning over Christmas she picked up a chest infection which, although it has now subsided, left her “with the rattly lungs of a 90-year-old.”

Despite having to adapt her training in order to give her body time to recover and not yet being in race form, Rudman is still positioned third in the world: “I’m currently ranked third in the world, so I’m very pleased given that I’m not quite in race form just yet.”

Hospital refuses to make death findings public

The findings of an inquiry, conducted at Kettering General Hospital, over the death of 17 year old Victoria Harrison in 2012 after a routine appendix operation is not going to be released to the public for fears of “endangering the mental health of staff”, a BBC report details.

Despite several Freedom of Information requests – including one from the BBC – over the hospital’s serious incident investigation, the hospital have revealed that they will not be making the report public.

The 17-year-old was admitted to Kettering General Hospital on 14th August 2012 after an emergency referral from her GP as she was suffering with suspected appendicitis. During the operation, an artery was damaged and although, at the time, this was rectified by a surgeon, she later complained of pain and bleeding.

Coroner Ann Pember has criticised the hospital and has said that, “windows of opportunity to treat Victoria were lost – had these been acted upon the outcome may have been different,” as some nursing staff weren’t made aware of the bleed, some didn’t check medical notes and others couldn’t read surgeons’ handwriting.

Under section 38 of the Freedom of Information Act there is an exemption to disclosure if disclosing information would endanger an individual’s safety or mental health.

Andy Sawford, Corby Labour MP however said:

“I’m concerned that information about what went wrong hasn’t been made available to the public. It is important to be transparent when things go wrong, and I will be raising my concerns with the hospital.”

Food Standards Agency searches for foreign food labelled as British

Since the horsemeat scandal of 2013, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) have been fighting the issue of authenticity when it comes to foods that our sold being sold as British. After reports of a non-British pork chop being sold as British meat in Tesco stores last year, the FSA will soon be beginning a study involving isotope technology on a number of samples.

FSA CEO Catherine Brown has said that the majority of the products tested will be those that are available at retail establishments. However, they will also be testing “a couple of burger businesses which claim British or UK provenance on their beef.”

A total of 100 samples will be taken over the next few months of beef, pork, lamb, honey, apple juice and tomatoes in order to establish their origin. The study will focus on foods where UK provenance is particularly important to consumers. The horsemeat scandal has meant that selling food that’s been sourced in the UK has become much more important to shoppers. However, this has raised the risk of non-British products being sold as British.

Brown added that although the results from isotope testing aren’t 100% “it can give you a steer” and will help the FSA work with retailers to investigate the origins of the food that they supply with a view to publishing a summary and ultimately a full list of everything tested.