A new California law bans culinary workers from touching any ready-to-eat foods with their bare hands. Not a terrible thing, you might say, though many chefs would argue that much of cooking is done by taste, and, in my opinion, kitchen workers are more likely to wash their hands than they are to switch out a pair of gloves every time they get a bit of food on them. However, here’s the wrinkle – notice the fine print. From SFGate.com –
(a) Food employees shall wash their hands in accordance with the provisions established in Section 113953.3.
(b) Except when washing fruits and vegetables, as specified in Section 113992 or as specified in subdivisions (e) and (f), food employees shall not contact exposed, ready-to-eat food with their bare hands and shall use suitable utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, single-use gloves, or dispensing equipment.
That law also applies to bartenders handling ice, spiraling garnishes, squeezing fruit and hand-selecting fresh ingredients.
Maybe it’s just me, and maybe I am biased because I’ve been a bartender, but there are a lot more important things to worry about in restaurants than bartenders wearing gloves. For one thing, scoops are used to put ice in the glass. No good bartender lets his fingers go over the rim of a glass. If a bartender is wearing gloves, does he remove them every time he touches a dirty/fecal laden credit card or dollar bill – we all know rich people wipe various body parts with their money just because they can!
Maybe all patrons should wear gloves, so as not to spread germs when they touch the door to enter the restaurant. How about those little trays they bring your bill on – lots of people use the restroom before paying the bill and leaving – they are probably all a mass of wriggling bacteria! Waiters had better wear gloves too, as they are touching filthy money all day long. Restroom attendants should be hired to ensure that all patrons wash for the recommended time (sing Happy Birthday twice) before re-entering the main floor.
Perhaps I am being more than a bit tongue in cheek on this topic, but it’s all going too far!