Volume 6 | Issue 1 | Year 2003

When the Handgards company began more than 40 years ago, its protective gloves were designed to shield the wearer from outside elements such as chemicals in hair dyes.

“We discovered that there was a real need for our products in the food service industry,” says Al Kavalauskas, director of marketing. “People are very aware of food-borne illnesses and the trouble they can cause. It can wipe out a restaurant. So restaurants are very keen to use the best technology available for food safety.”

The company’s disposable, protective gloves meet the highest standards in safe food handling while they maximize the efficiency of food preparation and enhance the value of food products to consumers.

“One of the first things you notice when you walk into a Subway is that the server is putting on a fresh pair of gloves when they’re talking to you,” Kavalauskas says, explaining that fresh gloves are used for each sandwich. “You have the immediate impression of good quality, clean hands and a good product.”

One of the reasons that frequent changing of handwear is so vital is that cross contamination can occur if a server touches food such as chicken, then starts working with beef or fish without thoroughly cleaning their hands and changing gloves.

Fortunately, HANDGARDS® Foodservice gloves are cool, soft, and comfortable to wear. They slide on and off easily and are flexible to allow optimal dexterity. Designed for use in foodservice, they also are suitable for housekeeping, industrial clean rooms and assembly areas.

HANDGARDS Foodservice gloves are available in a choice of materials including embossed low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polyvinyl, synthetic, nitrile or Latex rubber.

The Latest Technology
While food-borne illnesses are making headlines, Handgards has a newsworthy response.

“In an effort to promote cleanliness and to focus on improved food safety, Handgards introduced Microban® antimicrobial product protection into our gloves, aprons and bibs,” says Kavalauskas.

Microban is an antimicrobial technology that can be safely built into most plastics and textiles to continuously protect against the growth of bacteria that can cause contamination and odor. It is used in premium quality kitchen cutting boards, kitchen tools and gadgets, knives, coolers, and other items for professional and consumer use.

The active ingredient in Microban antimicrobial protection works by penetrating the bacteria’s cell wall, inhibiting the bacteria’s ability to function and grow, similar to the way chlorine sanitizes in water.

Microban built-in protection is molded homogeneously throughout the product and is engineered to be effective against microbes for the useful lifetime of the product.

“Microban is without question the most recognized name in antimicrobial product protection, Kavalauskas says. “Our exclusive agreement with Microban means that our competition does not and cannot supply Microban protection in their gloves. This provides us a clear-cut, value-added advantage for our customers.”

Food Quality Standards
The Microban additive is blended thoroughly into the resins during processing at Handgards’ 300,000-plus-square-foot plant employing more than 250 people in El Paso, Texas.

In fact, Handgards is so committed to food safety that all five regional sales managers, the national accounts manager, vice president of sales, marketing director plus the quality assurance director all have been ServSafe certified by the National Restaurant Association’s strict training program.

“This means that, even though Handgards does not produce food, our factory stands up to foodservice quality conditions and our reps are truly knowledgeable,” Kavalauskas says.

It turns out that the best technology in food preparation also is good for the bottom line.

“The three main concerns for restaurant operators are labor costs, food costs and profit margin,” Kavalauskas says. In addition to gloves that ensure food safety, Handgards develops, manufactures and distributes a number of cost-effective kitchen technologies that comply with all FDA rules.

TUFFGARDS® preportioning bag system helps restaurants and food operators pre-package exact amounts of food to help manage costs and achieve expected profits, while saving time and increasing productivity.

TUFFGARDS fast loading saddle pack system significantly reduces portioning time while maximizing use of kitchen staff. The system reduces food preparation time and improves service and customer satisfaction. Color-coded bags plus a writable surface allow the kitchen staff to clearly identify and label what’s in the bag and when to use it by.

TUFFGARDS high temperature ovenable cooking bags allow foods to be cooked at higher temperatures, reducing cooking time and energy costs. Oven bags are easy to top-load so there is less preparation time. Food continues to cook up to 45 minutes after the bag is removed from the oven, freeing up valuable oven space. Chefs can cook meats, fish, poultry, pastas and vegetables to perfection side-by-side in the same oven without transferring odors. Juices stay in the bag, making pans and ovens easier to clean. You also can freeze, store, microwave, and boil in the ovenable bags.

The company’s brand new Pan Handler® products also make cooking and cleanup a cinch. Pan Handlers line the bottom of pans, such as metal steam pan tables used for food dispensing.

To use, place the appropriate size Pan Handler pan liner into the pan, add food and cook. You also can serve from the pan liner. When you’re done, just roll up the bag with remaining juices or food scraps and simply toss it out. There is no scrubbing or scraping. Imagine the time and money saved especially with messy, baked-on foods like cheese sauces and lasagna.

Pan Handler products come in nylon for use in baking up to 400 degrees, or in a high-density product that you can freeze or microwave up to 220 degrees.

The company also produces the NEATGARDS® line of apparel including shoe coverings, aprons and bibs, in addition to its flagship gloves.

The best technology in innovative food handling products comes from Handgards, but Kavalauskas stresses that even the company’s antimicrobial gloves cannot replace good hygiene. “You have to wash your hands before you put on a new pair of gloves, so the two go, well, hand in hand.”

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