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The Likelihood of Cross-Contamination of Head Lettuce by E. Coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Norovirus during Hand Harvest and Recommendations for Glove Sanitizing and Use

Erickson, Marilyn; Cannon, Jennifer
University of Georgia
Start date
End date
Mandatory glove use when handling raw produce and the practice of sanitizing gloves with bleach is common despite uncertainty that these practices improve the safety of foods.

Here, the impacts of glove use (frequency of changing and glove composition) and sanitation (using bleach and a novel sanitizer developed at UGA) on cross-contamination of raw head lettuce by bacterial (E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella) and viral (norovirus) pathogens during harvest will be investigated. Since build-up (soil and lettuce residue) on gloves likely impacts transfer of pathogens to and from gloves, accumulation ofthese materials on gloves over time (0.5, 1,2 and 4 hr) will be quantified for volunteer harvesters wearing either rubber or nitrile gloves.

In the lab, natural accumulation will be mimicked on gloves and the likelihood of pathogen transfer to gloves and head lettuce will be investigated. Finally, a novel sanitizer will be evaluated for its efficacy in removing organic material accumulation and inactivating pathogens on gloves as compared to bleach.

This study will provide a scientific basis for making recommendations on glove use and sanitation during harvesting head lettuce and will contribute to improving the safety of fresh produce.

Funding Source
Center for Produce Safety
Project source
View this project
Project number
Bacterial Pathogens