McLandsborough also measured salmonella levels on different types of gloves being used in the industry: vinyl, latex, nitrile and low-density polyethylene.
Under an electron microscope the varying roughness of the gloves’ surfaces revealed the nitrile gloves to be much smoother, thus providing fewer locations for pathogens to survive and multiply. Nitrile gloves also showed less pathogen accumulation and could be more effectively cleaned between uses.
“Our conclusion? Glove material matters,” Landsborough said.
Panelist Filindo Colace, vice president of operations for Club Chef Chef LLC (a Castellini Co.), said he was pleased the research supported his company’s decision to use nitrile gloves. He said Danyluk’s research on pathogen transference via tomato cleaning cloths proved Club Chef was also correct to ban them.
Coral BeachDuring a panel discussion about pathogen transference in tomato harvesting and handling, Michael Burness, (left) Chiquita's vice president of global quality and food safety, listens as executive director of the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange Reggie Brown discusses current industry practices.Chiquita’s Burness said the researchers’ work reinforces the need to focus on clean.
“It’s all so simple with this data,” Burness said about tomato harvesting. “No cloths, new bins, nitrile gloves.”
Reggie Brown, another panel member and executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, expressed caution as far as the need for growers to buy new equipment.
“This shows we can find some contamination but not specific differences between new and old (harvest bins and buckets),” Brown said.
“Our regulations require daily washing and inspection of bins, but these businesses have to be economically successful. We can’t chase down every boogie man. … And we don’t want to move a raw agricultural product to become a finished product.”