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Sushi Chefs Have To Wear Gloves According To New Law

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If you're a cook, you know that there are certain things that are just better when done with your bare hands -- shaping croquettes for frying, kneading dough, tossing salads, and of course, making sushi. It's part of the reason why being in the kitchen is so fun, after all. You get to be like a little kid getting into the Play Dough.

For sushi chefs, though, it's a more than just fun. It's a feeling. One that, as demonstrated by the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi, experts work tirelessly on for years in order to perfect. But according to a new law, sushi chefs (and all other chefs for that matter) won't be allowed to work with bare hands any longer.

The law went into effect on January 1, but restaurants will have 6 months to update to comply with it. Most other states already have a similar ban in place, where 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 rather than bare hands.

Workers also have to wash their hands between every glove use and every time they enter the work space.

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Says NRN:

Previously, the California Retail Food Code attempted to minimize bare-hand contact with prepared food, but the new rules go a step further to ban such contact, except in specific situations where the restaurant seeks an exemption from their local health officials. The rules apply to any ready-to-eat food that will not be cooked or reheated. Affected dishes include sushi, bread, baked goods, salads and garnishes like parsley, lemon wedges and pickles.

It will be interesting to see how local sushi restaurants adapt to the rule, or if they'll risk it for the sake of tradition.