Cannabis Industry: 3 Facts to Consider Before Buying Gloves

When it comes to consumer safety, there’s much debate whether cannabis should be treated as a drug or a food product. With the exception of creams and ointments, many cannabis products are actually food products. Over and above edibles, cannabis can be brewed into teas, added to baked goods or made into infused butters, oils, capsules and tinctures.

Cannabis Plant with Bud

However, because marijuana is still identified by the federal government as an illegal and controlled substance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is not involved in setting food and medical standards. The risk of foodborne pathogen cross-contamination in cannabis products needs to be considered in order to protect the consumer.

With 15% of foodborne illness outbreaks implicating disposable glove cross-contamination (CDC et al), a food safety program that mitigates all risks involved in food handling, including disposable gloves, is essential.  

Why choose Quality Cannabis Handling Gloves?

  1. Bacterial count on unused gloves

The manufacturing processes and raw material ingredients of disposable gloves can introduce bacterial contamination and chemical migration to the cannabis products handled. Low-cost manufacturing of disposable gloves reduces wash-tank clean-out processes and water quality, which leads to a build-up of microbes and chemicals on the gloves. Studies of bacterial contamination of unused protective gloves have indicated environmental contaminants of up to 10,000 bacteria per glove! Read more here.

  1. Chemicals in gloves can migrate to products

Cheap gloves can have a high chemical toxicity. Demand for lower costs from the end user pressures the glove manufacturers to sacrifice quality, and substitute other materials to meet these demands. This can include increased levels of cyanide, inexpensive phthalate plasticizers, or others on the Prop. 65 list of chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer. Glove fraud is real.

  1. Are food compliant gloves really food safe?

No formal government regulations or inspection program exists for food service gloves. The only requirements are that the components of the glove comply with the FDA regulations and consist of “Substances generally recognized as safe for use in food or food packaging.”  There is no AQL requirement for food service gloves, meaning there are no guidelines for the number of failures (holes or rips) per box.

With 18,000 Staphylococci shown to pass through a single glove hole during a 20-minute period, your food service compliant gloves may not be protecting your product!

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What do you need to consider when procuring disposable gloves for handling your cannabis products?

  • Know the AQL - know how many failures per box your disposable gloves have. Cheap gloves are cheap for a reason.
  • Only choose examination (medical) grade disposable gloves with an AQL of 2.5 or less - pay for gloves suitable for handling your product.
  • Beware of cheap imports which may be from reject lines - these can include failed gloves with a high chemical toxicity.
  • Only buy from reputable suppliers with supply chain transparency, including quality control procedures in place.

There are many articles highlighting the need for food safety standards to be adhered to during the manufacturing of cannabis products, especially in edible, medical marijuana products. These cover everything from employee hygiene, product handling, temperature control requirements and all other steps of producing, packaging and selling.

As of July 1 in California, legal marijuana is being analyzed for pesticides, bacteria and fungus to ensure against microbiological contaminants and chemical residues that can be introduced during the growing, drying or trimming processes. This quality assurance testing ensures cannabis products are safe for human consumption.

Eagle Protect is a food safety company, specializing in the supply of certified food safe gloves and protective clothing. We are a leading supplier to the natural and organic food sector and will be at this years’ Cannabis Business Summit and Expo with a full range of our products to trial. Eagle gloves have been shown to reduce the cross-contamination rate of pathogens, and we also stock a full range of gloves resistant to chemicals and microbes, all exceeding medical grade requirements for extra protection.

Don’t let cheap disposable gloves, in direct contact with your product, be your food safety blind spot.

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