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California Bill Would Reverse Silly Law Requiring Chefs And Bartenders To Wear Gloves

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A chef preparing sushi while wearing gloves (Photo by Pressmaster via Shutterstock)
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Chefs and bartenders were up in arms after a state law requiring food handlers to wear gloves went into effect on January 1. So much so that they mobilized, signed petitions, and urged assemblymen to repeal it.

According to the current California Retail Code, all food industry workers who handle food must use gloves, utensils or wax paper (no bare hands!) to prep any "ready-to-eat" food that wouldn't be heated or reheated. Restaurants have been given six months to make adjustments to better handle the food.

However, less than two months after the law was enacted, Assemblyman Richard Pan of Sacramento proposed on Monday an emergency legislation, AB 2130 (a.k.a. Retail Food Safety law), that would change the language of the law and reverse it.

On an assembly meeting in Sacramento on Tuesday, Pan stated that "a vast number of our local restaurants and bars raised serious concerns with this prohibition after the passage of this new law."

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Says the LA Times:

Pan cited reports of inconsistent implementation of exemptions, the costs of buying and disposing of thousands of gloves, and concerns about gloves offering a false sense of security and raising the risk of cross-contamination. The bill to repeal the glove provision would return previous language to the food safety code that says employees should “minimize” bare-handed contact with food. The bill will next go to a floor vote.

In other words, there's still hope that our sushi chefs and cocktail crafters won't end up looking like lunch ladies with plastic gloves on behind the bar.