5 Questions with Steve Ardagh

Ask the Experts - Gloves and Food Safety

CEO and Founder, Eagle Protect

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October 12, 2021

Glove guru Steve Ardagh, CEO and founder of specialist glove supplier Eagle Protect, has been the go-to industry resource reporting on the food safety implications of the pandemic glove supply and demand deficit. As demand slowed and the industry has been flooded with poor quality and counterfeit gloves, how can you ensure you are purchasing truly food safe gloves?

1 Are FDA food compliant gloves really food safe?

Not many people know the FDA Food Compliance — FDA (21 CFR 177) — is a limited, single test completed infrequently by the factory, simply measuring the migration of specified types of glove polymers. After testing is passed, glove purchasers must trust the factories, mostly based in Southeast Asia, to continue manufacturing gloves to that specification — but this is easily abused.

2 What are the Good Manufacturing Practice requirements for gloves?

Even scarier is that the FDA Food Compliance testing does not measure glove cleanliness nor the number of glove failures (holes). However, the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practice states that gloves handling food need to be clean, sanitary and intact. This disharmony between the GMP and FDA glove compliance is a very dangerous Food Safety Gap, one that Eagle Protect is mitigating with our unique and proprietary glove analysis.

3 Is Eagle Protect’s proprietary testing really essential?

Yes. As a calibration for our gloves, we tested hundreds of samples of 26 other branded food and medical grade gloves and found over 260 different viable pathogen species. These included E. Coli, Salmonella, Listeria, (as well as fungus, mold and even feces) and many more foodborne illness and food spoilage pathogens, capable of causing disease to the glove wearer, and transferring to the handled food.

4 Can poor quality gloves affect food businesses?

Yes. We actually gained a customer recently after they had a recall due to contaminated gloves. The gloves were FDA food compliant but contained cheap toxins which contaminated the handled products. This was most likely due to the factory changing raw material ingredients, after achieving FDA compliance testing. This is a costly example and can also affect a company’s brand reputation.

5 What is Eagle Protect’s glove difference?

We can guarantee a range of our gloves are truly food safe. Our multilayered proprietary testing ensures our gloves meet GMP standards by being clean, free from harmful toxins and pathogens, have an AQL of 1.5, with consistent raw material ingredients and manufacturing quality — this is tested in each glove container. Eagle Protect mitigates the potential food safety risk of poorly made and poorly sourced gloves.