Can Disposable Gloves Increase Food Waste?

February 11, 2019

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According to Love Food Hate Waste, New Zealanders throw away 122,547 tonnes of food a year. 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.

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 Fingerprint testing 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.

Eagle’s chemical and microbiological testing is designed to ensure Eagle gloves adhere to the highest level of scrutiny and are a truly food safe glove guaranteed to enhance customers food safety programs. The bioburden load from other branded gloves opens up a possible theory that this could easily translate to food, accelerating food degradation and spoilage.


Currently there is a lack of testing and food safe standards for the manufacturing of food safe gloves, and no testing requirement against the migration of pathogens and fungus to food. Glove factories self-certify, so 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 is 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 hand washing 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.


Eagle Protect’s gloves are tested to ensure their food safety compatibility. They are tested for chemical make up, cleanliness (bioburden) and structural integrity. A full account of our testing can be found here.

Eagle gloves are certified safe to enhance your food safety programs and protect your food from spoilage. Contact us now to sample our quality gloves.

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Tags: Food Safety