New California Law Requires Cooks To Wear Gloves: Always

Categories: Food News

gloves-are-the-worst.jpg
You've undoubtedly seen them -- when you request guacamole on your Chipotle burrito, or when you ask for a sprinkle of bacon bits on your salad at Greenz -- vinyl food-safe gloves covering the sweating skin of a food worker's hands.

The visual is in no way attractive but the gloves are required here in Texas and in other states like California, which recently revisited its food handling regulations making them even more restrictive. The new law bans barehanded contact with many types of foods, but is receiving pushback from chefs and other food professionals who have deemed the rules confusing, over-restrictive, un-environmentally conscious and generally a pain in the ass. Imagine sushi chefs trying to navigate the floppy folds of a neoprene glove as they delicately tuck uni into cups of seaweed, as covered in LA Weekly.

And it gets even weirder.

The LA Times reports that bartenders have been blindsided by the new regulation that mandates they can't touch ice, tinctures, or anything else that goes in your glass for a drink. Try and imagine piercing a strand of citrus peel with tiny cloves while wearing bulky gloves -- not to mention the effect on hipster fashion sense.

Fortunately for sushi and cocktails here in Dallas, Texas' code is not as strict. Food employees may not contact ready-to-eat food with their bare hands, which is why you see those gloves behind the burrito line, but they are only instructed to minimize contact with ingredients that are not ready for consumption. That means cooks can dice onions without being encumbered with gloves, and they can wash fruits and vegetables that will eventually be cooked, too.

To handle ingredients that are ready to be served to customers, food handlers have to endure a rigorous hand washing ritual that includes double washing, fingernail scrubbing with a brush and a hefty dose of hand sanitizer.

A sushi chef's work is especially tactile, requiring a delicate feel to properly bond fish to rice and skin contact to bring a piece of sushi to the perfect serving temperature, but most kitchen tasks require significant dexterity. Cooking well requires a sense of touch, and should California's laws catch on, more food service employees are going to have to learn to work without it.

My Voice Nation Help
11 comments
BillyBong
BillyBong

I wonder just how many chefs are going to start cutting their fingers off because the gloves don't have the tactile touch that fingers do.  Think about that.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Also, note that there is nothing in the regulation about CHANGING the gloves.  Somehow a pair of gloves that has been work for the last six hours straight is better than washed hands.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Effing busybodies.  Here's an idea.  Require a HUGE sign that says, "WARNING: Our highly trained, world acclaimed chef is smart enough to wash his hands instead of wearing gloves.  If you are worried that he is somehow going to give you a cold, eat somewhere else.  Douche."


Then I know to only eat at places that have the sign.

pak152
pak152

the LAWeekly articled noted "Under the new rules, such foods must be handled with single-use gloves or utensils like tongs, forks, spoons, bakery or deli wraps, wax paper, scoops, spatulas, or dispensing equipment."
single use?? egads they'll have to buy cases of gloves and not to mention cases of tools

pak152
pak152

so now kitchen workers have to undergo a cleaning process that mirrors what a surgical staff goes through? really?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Unless they have an open kitchen I seriously doubt many cooks are wearing gloves.  A ridiculous law given that bacteria can stay on the gloves as efficiently as on the bare hands. 

scott.reitz
scott.reitz moderator

@everlastingphelps there is something in the regulation about changing gloves. It's in a different section of the code. 

pak152
pak152

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katzstand back grab something to hold onto, but I agree with Myrna on this one. as a former short order cook I can't imagine working with those gloves on

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@scott.reitz @everlastingphelps Right, when you leave the line.  But if you are working for four hours straight, then you never have to change your gloves.  There's vague BS about cross-contamination but nothing scheduled and enforceable.


If the person doing the work already understands cross-contamination, they don't need the gloves.  If they need the gloves, then they also need a strict schedule. 

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...