As reported by the New Zealand Parliament’s Environment Select Committee, “Food waste is a major issue in New Zealand. As a nation, we waste an estimated $872 million worth of food a year. That represents 122,500 tonnes of food sent to landfills - enough to feed everyone in Dunedin for two years”. That is equivalent to 213 jumbo jets of food that has to go somewhere to rot, instead of being eaten. All of this food is worth about $872 million each year. Such is the magnitude of food waste in New Zealand, the Environmental Select Committee is carrying out a briefing to look into ways to prevent the waste of food in New Zealand.
Apart from the obvious, that families in need could have benefitted from this food, there are other profound implications such as the effect on landfills, climate change and also food security. Businesses, such as those belonging to the Climate Collaborative, are joining forces to create solutions to reduce food waste and the associated climate effects.
Besides storage issues, new evidence suggests commercial food spoilage could also be attributed to disposable gloves. Results of Eagle Protect’s unique and multilayer Delta Zero™ program has identified chemicals, pathogens and fungus on the inside and outer surfaces of other branded disposable gloves. This bioburden can be due to poor glove manufacturing standards, including limited and dirty wash tank water, and the cleanliness of manufacturing plants and glove packing rooms. This opens up a possible theory that this bioburden could easily translate to food, accelerating food degradation and spoilage.
Preliminary results of microbial testing of the surfaces of unused disposable gloves have found not only bacteria specific to foodborne illnesses (FBI's), such as E. coli and Staphylococcus but also pathogens that are known specifically to cause food spoilage. These pathogens were found on new and unused disposable gloves currently sold to the US food industry. They are the result of contaminated water sources used in glove manufacturing, from surface water polluted by agricultural, industrial and urban run-off - including sewage contamination!
WHAT ARE FOOD CONTACT GLOVES TESTED FOR?
Manufacturers selling food-safe gloves that state they are compliant for food handling, are not required to check for bioburden or toxicity of the glove either at the factory or on entry into New Zealand. Disposable glove manufacturing is largely unregulated. This can lead to unsanitary conditions, allowing the survival of potential microbial contaminants on both the insides of gloves (affecting the glove wearer) and on the outside food contact surfaces. As glove factories self-certify, there is a great deal of faith placed in your supplier's ability to deliver disposable gloves sight unseen. Here is what you should know about food contact glove manufacturing:
- Gloves are not tested for microbial levels, meaning there are no testing parameters to ensure their cleanliness - no testing to ensure a clean glove free from bioburden.
- Chemical migration testing is limited and infrequent. Food contact gloves are certified under FDA Title 21 CFR Part 177, which states the components of the glove comply with the FDA regulations and the gloves consist of “Substances generally recognised as safe for use in food or food packaging.”
- The production and manufacturing of food contact gloves are unregulated. This includes the polymers (raw materials) and chemicals from which the gloves are made.
- There is no AQL requirement for food service gloves, meaning there are no guidelines for maximum pinhole defects - no guidelines for the number of failures per box. Are you certain your employees are following good handwashing procedures and not causing the spread of pathogens to food?
With a clear lack of migration testing and no microbial testing in place for food contact gloves, it is possible for chemical, pathogen and fungal migration to food, causing contamination and spoilage.
HOW CAN YOU GUARANTEE A TRULY FOOD-SAFE GLOVE?
Choosing a clean glove may decelerate the conditions of food spoilage. Eagle’s chemical and microbiological testing is designed to ensure a range of gloves adhere to the highest level of scrutiny and are a truly food-safe glove guaranteed to enhance customers food safety programs. Our gloves are tested to ensure their food safety compatibility, including their chemical make-up, cleanliness (pathogens) and structural integrity. A full account of our testing can be found here.
Eagle gloves protect your food, staff and reputation and are certified safe to enhance your food safety programs.
Contact us now to sample our quality gloves.