Why Nitrile Gloves for Food Processing?

Published on
May 5, 2022 at 1:49:39 PM PDT May 5, 2022 at 1:49:39 PM PDTth, May 5, 2022 at 1:49:39 PM PDT

Nitrile rubber is a material highly resistant to oils, fuels, and many other chemicals. Although this material has many applications (seals, O-rings, gaskets), it is most known for being used in the construction of medical and food-handling gloves.


Nitrile is considered the material of choice for handling foods in a safe, contaminate-free and additive-free manner. FDA and HACCP certified, nitrile is used for its cleanliness and strength and is the safest and strongest material for food handling gloves. Strength means a low chance of breakage and contamination.


Investing in quality PPE promotes food safety culture and saves money. Nitrile gloves are a great investment and offer the best protection for the following reasons:


Hypoallergenic – Nitrile gloves are made from synthetic rubber and reduce risk of allergic contaminant to the users and the food they handle.

Superior puncture-resistance – Nitrile gloves are highly puncture-resistant and durable. They are 3-5 times stronger as compared to disposable latex gloves. Nitrile gloves are tear-resistant and help prevent the potential for foreign material contamination.

Form-fitting – Using body heat, nitrile gloves conform to the shape of the users’ hands making them form fitting. Well fitted gloves can dramatically increase comfort and dexterity.

Excellent chemical-resistance – Nitrile gloves offer the highest level of resistance to oils, acids, and chemicals in comparison to latex and other natural rubber gloves.

High tactile sensitivity – Because of their incredible touch or tactile sensitivity it is easier to move. Ease of movement increases job performance and productivity.

What to consider when choosing nitrile gloves.

Not all nitrile gloves are the same. It is vital to recognize the different types of gloves available and know how to differentiate the models safe for food prep and suited for your applications. Below are things to consider when choosing gloves.

Intended purpose or use. Nitrile gloves may be either food-grade, industrial-grade, or medical-grade (also called examination-grade). Although they use the same raw materials in their construction, there may be significant differences in thickness, manufacturing processes, and overall material quality.

The main difference between the different nitrile glove grades is whether the gloves pass FDA safety tests and requirements for that specific application, using various chemical penetration, abrasion, and puncture resistance tests to determine their quality level.

Although the FDA may consider all three suitable for food preparation, the exam-grade requirements are more stringent than those for industrial applications; in other words, medical-grade gloves are more resilient and meet a higher quality standard.

Glove thickness – Nitrile glove also varies in thickness and are measured in millimeters (mil). This glove’s thickness ranges from 4-12 mil. Thickness of nitrile gloves also has a say on its level of dexterity. Thicker gloves give food handlers less dexterity. If you are working in the food processing industry and planning to use the glove there for 8 hours daily, then it would be best to pick thinner work gloves. Workers will enjoy more dexterity, preventing their hands from becoming too tired and sweaty.

Powder vs. Powder-free. Most nitrile gloves are available in two forms: powdered or powder-free.

Powdered nitrile gloves are coated in fine cornstarch powder, a natural moisture-absorbing substance intended to make it easier to don the gloves and keep the wearer’s hands dry and sweat-free.

However, powdered gloves present many disadvantages: the powder tends to remain stuck to the wearer’s hands and other surfaces after removing the gloves, carrying a long list of potential health risks, such as airway inflammations, respiratory irritations, and allergic reactions.

Powder-free nitrile gloves employ different manufacturing processes to recreate the properties of cornstarch powder, such as chlorination or polymer coating. These processes allow wearers to don the gloves with more ease than untreated or uncoated gloves, without the disadvantages of cornstarch powder.

Size and color – For full dexterity and workability, properly fitting nitrile gloves are essential. Most food handlers come in various size so you must have a variety of sizes to fit all of plant worker.

It is also essential to consider the color. Blue is the standard color used in a nitrile glove. It is primarily because this is the color used in differentiating the material from those constructed out of latex. It is also possible to use the color in distinguishing sizes of gloves and preventing cross contamination.

Finish and texture – Food processing environments are often wet and/or oily and grip is important. If this is the case chose a glove with fingers and palm that have textured finish. This often comes in the pattern of a diamond. A chlorinated coating is also used as a finish for the nitrile glove in most cases. This specific coating helps lessening the stickiness, thereby promoting ease in putting on and taking off the gloves.

Choosing the right kind of disposable glove is essential for safely handling food. While there are many options available, nitrile gloves are considered the best available for ensuring food safety and cleanliness.

Amerisan carries a variety of quality nitrile gloves. With multiple sizes, colors, and thicknesses to ensure you get the exact product you need. We highly recommend the UMBO brand, Niflex, to ensure product materials comply with the requirements of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Federal Regulations for food contact 21CFR, 170-199 and CFIA Approved.

We keep an extensive inventory which allows us to fulfill bulk orders quickly.

Browse our online catalog for food-safe nitrile gloves and other PPE.