Dining Services food preparation gloves spur controversy

Posted by Alex Brehm

A Dining Services worker has recently expressed concern regarding boxes of food preparation gloves with a label that reads, "WARNING: These vinyl gloves contain a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm."

Stickers from manufacturing company, Food Handlers, conceal the warning labels on these boxes. One of the stickers says, "Learn more about Food Handler's sustainable glove and bag options: www.foodhandler.com."

The dining hall worker, who declined to have his name printed, said he first noticed the stickers covering the warning labels one year ago. He said he had posted the labels and the health warnings on the Dining Hall's suggestion board twice, but got no response.

When another worker posted asking about the labels he received a response that said Dining Hall managers cared about the safety of the workers and the issue had been investigated.

A representative from Food Handler said that the warning was placed on the gloves due to the presence of DEHP, a plasticizer that is used to make glove material more flexible, and which is found in other brands, not only Food Handler.

Under the state of California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, the company was forced to include the warning on its packaging as long as its product contained DEHP, the representative said.

Food Handler began including "strict requirements that eliminate DEHP completely" from the gloves. The representative said that the company had extra packaging containing the warning, and covered it with a sticker instead of switching immediately to a new package design.

Managers at Dining Services were not available for comment by press time on March 3.

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