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Unwashed hands handling your food.. What would you do?

Greetings all

I posted this already in the Toronto forum already but nobody responded, which I am surprised at, and am wondering what the general majority of you would do

Tonight I was getting a couple take-out chickens from a popular Portuguese rotisserie spot; I ordered 2 chickens for $20 as I always do, and proceeded to wait while the food was taken off the grill/rotiserrie and cut up.

Here is where I'm having problems..

The lady who literally was just handling my money, and was digging around in various bills and handling each coin of change individually to return my change, proceeded to take her hands and man-handle the chicken. Why I choose this word is because she takes a very "hands on" approach of handling each chicken by grabbing each one and cutting it with chicken shears, effectively getting her hands and fingers all over each piece of chicken.

This goes on for more than one customer in a row while I'm waiting, and as if by fluke of nature, she happens to spill some soup for the person served directly before me, forcing her to FINALLY wash her hands before cutting up my chicken.

I quietly thank God and make my escape, but can't help think.. I wouldn't want to be rude and tell the older lady "hey, wash your hands, that is gross" but on the other hand.. I don't really want hands that were making cash transactions all day to be all over my chicken

Am I over-reacting?

Would anyone else agree?

What would you do?

Thanks for reading

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  1. Duck -- You are not over-reacting. I always wonder, though, what goes on behind closed kitchen doors. Like you, Seinfeld was lucky enough to see Poppy's failure to wash after using the bathroom then proceed to the kitchen. The downside of this attitude is to eat mostly at home which is what I do especially during rampant flu and cold epidemics (having a compromised immune system). I'll be interested to read what others would do. I think I would refuse the food and quietly say why.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mickie44

      "Poppy got a little sloppy!"

      Sometimes it's better not to know.

      1. re: mickie44

        See, the thing about that that always bothered me was that they never showed the kitchen. Knowing they'll have to wash their hands when they re-enter the food area, some people don't wash their hands in the bathroom AND the food area.

        When I worked food service, my hands would become so dried out from washing them approximately every half hour with the antibacterial soap. It got to the point where I had to convince myself to wash my hands in the bathroom, knowing in a minute I'd be washing them in the food area. But ou know, food service workers have to "keep up appearances."

        One place I worked required hair nets. To combat the concern that employees weren't wearing hair nets, the company switched a ugly, brown, matronly hair nets.

      2. Im the crazy lady who says exscuse me - could you please wash your hands. I find it awkward but Im not willing to get sick. If I am in a line and have't paid I will ussually skip the whole thing entirely - Can you imagine what they must be doing in the back?
        Ive worked in kitchens my whole life - some things bother me more than others. The money thing always gets me, the wiping of the face/body with hands, basic cross contamination - putting the burger on the grill and grabbing the bun - no glove - no wash.....happens a lot. I think we need to speak up more about real issues like that.

        6 Replies
        1. re: coastie

          And that's the thing --

          I think it would only take one person to become visibly upset or ask for their money back for this reason before they might be more careful or more diligant in the future

          I just don't want to be a jerk to the poor lady

          1. re: coastie

            My son put himself through university working in restaurants, everything from line cook to waitstaff and bartending and it always amazed me that they expected people to appear for work no matter how contagious they might be. Is it always like that in your experience, coastie?

            1. re: mickie44

              Always. I have been made to work - while i was throwing up in a trash can - I have been made to work when I was written out of work for 4 days.
              Im a fanatic about handwashing and I know my employees think Im a freak . I covered the faucet with plastic wrap to catch a non handwasher that was always telling me she had just washed....She quit when she was caught lying about it - and everyone decided I was seroius. THe problem is we pay these people minimun wage or a bit more - they don't care. (Not everyone - lots of people care a lot)
              As far as the working sick - its not like other industries - you are asked to work sick and even if you want to call in , odds are good you'll be asked to show a doctors note( usually unisured) and that you don't have sick day pay to spend. I had sick day pay once in my 20 years ( oddly thats where I was made to work when I had doctors note)
              I really look for some industry changes but it means we'll be paying even more for our food.

              1. re: coastie

                uh, no-- it is against health code to have anyone handling food at the same time as "throwing up in a trash can." anyone vomiting, whether it's the flu, a reaction to medication, or a hangover, needs to go the eff home. if it's a hangover and i gotta send 'em home, they'll probably get fired. even the crummiest bars will send a puking cook home and shut down their 1-man kitchen rather than risk giving everyone food poisoning/norovirus and getting their whole establishment closed by the health dept. i can't imagine having a puking cook on the line any more than having someone bleeding profusely from their head into the food. no food manager would allow that. except at subway:


                1. re: soupkitten

                  I wish it were as simple as that. My food manager made me - its was leave and lose your job. This happened to me about 14 yrs ago but have seen many times and I don't work at Subway type places. I do send my cooks home now that I have my own place and can just cover the shift myself - its good for me to be on the line now and then.
                  I have seen it all - when I reported a breakfast cook for scratching his ass with his spatula - I was accused of rocking the boat. My fellow employees were all told that I told - I was the only girl it was hell. I quit shortly after....really I wish it was a simple as a food code and people listening. But you get the cook who hides it because they have missed too many days because of a drinking or other problem. You get the manager who has no way to cover the shift so asks the cook to hang on for and hour or 2 till the relief can be called. OR the cook thats come to work hung over so many time sno one knoews the difference. Boy who cried wolf syndrome - hes told if he goes home hes done - so he stays, sick because he can't lose yet another job.
                  It happens a lot - way too much. The place I was made to stay while I was sick in a trash can - 3 hours while a cook was called in....it is a corporate hotel with a 4 star restaurant in it.....I was a kid - I can stand up for myself now. But I was told those magic words if you go home don't come back.

                  1. re: soupkitten

                    I currently have an open kitchen so my customer can see everything . I like it that way keeps my cooks honest

            2. No, you're not overreacting. Most health departments I know of would issue a citation for such food-handling. If they're that ignorant about running a restaurant, they should be in some other business. Absolutely not tolerable.

              1. Gross. I'd skip it. And, then, if you really like the place, contact the manager and tell him or her what the problem is - maybe they'll change the set up as a result. If not, for me, it would be a no-go. I'm the lady who reported an expediter who delivers food to the table who had his thumb in my plate and it was a filthy thumb (with dirt under his nails) at that. I reported him to the manager. Never happened again with that guy. I also asked a nurse who was about to draw my blood, who was not wearing gloves, and who had just touched the garbage can lid with those hands, to please wash them before taking my blood. Never went back to that dr's office.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Bite Me

                  I'm not sure. Since I assume disgusting things go on behind the scenes, and pests are leaving their feces every which way but loose, I'm not sure.

                  I figure my life is in the hands of providence anyway when I eat out, so what the heck. If the food is good, I'd keep going back.

                  1. re: dolores

                    I am shocked to say that I agree, dolores. It can be mind over matter sometimes, but if the food is good, I'll probably be back.

                    The thing I can't stand is seeing someone touch raw meat, then not wash their hands/change gloves, then prepare ready-to-eat food. That's a deal-breaker for me.

                    1. re: dolores

                      That's exactly how I feel.

                      I'm a firm believer that we've become a bit too germophobic in our society anyways, shaking things up in your body can serve to make you stronger - not to mention the deleterious effect all of the antibacterial everything has on things.

                      A little dirt here or there ain't gonna kill ya (well, probably not).

                  2. The jfoods are the people who ask the preparer for a new pair of gloves before they make their sandwiches if they are also handling the money.

                    If they touch the money before preparing jfood's food and do not change the gloves, jfood pulls a Snagglepuss "Exit stage left." Thanks but no thanks.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jfood

                      I'm with you 100%. Filthy lucre and food are not my combo of choice! In my own kitchen, I'm an obsessive hand-washer, and I expect not less of food purveyors.

                    2. Read Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London" and you'll never again eat in a restaurant.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: beevod

                        >>you'll never again eat in a restaurant.

                        Hah, I bet.

                        Or, just keep on eating, come what may.

                      2. I have always been pleased when I see some one handling money then washing their hands and then putting on gloves to handle food and get really unhappy the other way - too much illness passed on and I will walk out - and if it is my jurisdiction will have an inspection done.

                        1. IMO it is overreacting, but IMO most people overreact to such things.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jgg13

                            I totally agree with you, jgg13. I can just see the "The wait at my lunch place is too long cause my server has OCD and is conatantly washing his hands" thread.

                          2. There's an establishment near my workplace that's mostly a coffee/pastry/soup/sandwich place that will never get my business again. On a regular basis, I saw the same employee put a tub of garlic spread in the microwave to warm it up a bit. He always wore those ill-fitting plastic gloves (which I thought was a good thing, at first). While he'd wait for the microwave to do it's thing, he's be running his gloved hand over the counter...on the chair by the counter...tapping the revolving lid on the trash can near the microwave...and flipping through the newspapers that occasionally got left on the counter. Every 30 seconds or so, he'd stick a gloved finger into the spread to test the temperature, then either resume warming, or take it to his workstation. Once I realized that he used the gloves to keep his HANDS clean with little or no regard for the food, I stopped going there.

                            I also saw this same guy go into the bathroom carrying a mop in his gloved hands, but I don't know if they were the same gloves he'd use to prepare food, or if he donned a different pair. I'm not sure I want to know.

                            18 Replies
                            1. re: ricepad

                              jfood mentioned this to the local grocer as well and used almost the same words. A week later he saw a little sign at the deli counter over the cutter.

                              "You are wearing gloves to create a clean environment for the customer. Please replace as you would wash your hands."

                              1. re: jfood

                                I understand that people like plastic gloves and whatnot, but plastic gloves are huge contributors to the whole disposable society and I think it's more productive to simply teach people vigilant handwashing procedures (since you're supposed to wash your hands despite wearing gloves anyways).

                                1. re: Blueicus

                                  There is also the danger (although avoidable) of latex allergies.

                                  1. re: jgg13

                                    Its almost impossible to teach these folks to wash their hands more often. Gloves are really the best (although not ideal) solution to the problem,

                                    Latex allergies? Please......

                                    1. re: Cheflambo

                                      Latex allergies are very real. I had a relative who could not get near latex. It created severe shortness of breath and hives. It took days for the hives to go away. It can send them into shock.

                                      1. re: WineAboutIt

                                        Agreed. It's extremely common within the healthcare industry, especially among people who already have hay fever or other allergies. The longer people are exposed to latex, the more likely they are to develop the allergy.

                                      2. re: Cheflambo

                                        "Its almost impossible to teach these folks to wash their hands more often."

                                        what on earth do you mean by that CL? who are "these folks?" and what's the use of putting clean gloves on over dirty hands-- the gloves are now dirty, are they not?

                                    2. re: Blueicus

                                      There are not always sinks at the deli/sandwich counter and jfood is not a proponent of them running back and forth to the bathroom in between services. And to the last point. They make a sandwich, they take the money with the gloved hands, they go to the next customer and ask what they want, simultaneously taking old gloves off and placing new ones on. No need to wash at this juncture.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        Some health agencies will still advocate the washing of hands because when you start grabbing gloves with your bare hands you can possibly infect the outside of the gloves while doing so. Also the latex gloves used are normally fragile things and when you're doing something like using a knife or doing heavy scrubbing you can easily puncture the fingertip area.

                                    3. re: jfood

                                      if a deli/restaurant is constructed properly, there should be several hand washing sinks in the prep area and so the employees should not have to go to a bathroom to wash their hands. If something is wrong with the sink, it is a health code violation....I prefer hand washing to gloves, but will accept proper use of either.

                                      1. re: PaulaT

                                        Gloves seem to create a false since of security for people. BOH workers are more likely to wash their hands after handling raw meat due to the feel than they are to changing gloves. The most annoying things I've seen are kitchen guys rinsing their gloved hand, handling a cell phone with a gloved hand and operators limiting the number of gloves used per shift as a cost control measure. Gloves may put the Health Dept. & Guests at ease, but I'd rather see the proper number and placement of hand sinks in the prep area. Cheers!

                                        1. re: oldbaycupcake

                                          agree 100%. gloves are in no way a substitute for proper handwashing--in fact they can contribute to *less* handwashing because the worker can't feel residue on hands, does not want to change gloves, put on gloves over damp hands (which is difficult), etc. i think kitchen workers who work w/o gloves, or only use them for very specific tasks i.e. hand-pattying burgers etc. as a rule work much cleaner than those who wear gloves. i don't think it necessarily applies to a deli/sandwich situation, but chefs do actually need to touch the food with their hands in order to prepare it properly.

                                          1. re: jgg13

                                            Consider that food & food residue can get under the nails, on the wrists, etc. Sanitizer alone would not eliminate the potential problem. In the food industry, the mantra is clean then sanitize for everything. A proper hand sink has both soap & sanitizer or a soap that contains sanitizer as well. All of my kitchens also have proper hand washing procedures posted above every hand sink in both English & Spanish.

                                            Have to say that I find it cavalier for a hospital worker to not understand the fuss about this stuff & think people worry too much about germs. Sounds like the sanitizer dispensers have virtually replaced proper hand washing, which scares me. Perhaps that explains the increase in staph infections that are acquired in hospitals.

                                            1. re: oldbaycupcake

                                              Eh, I work in a research portion, its not a big deal where I am - no patient contact .... in my bldg it is mainly just the doctors doing it out of habit, but in other areas they use the sanitizer after every little thing they do and wash after/before doing real stuff.

                                              And my attitude is that there's a difference between worrying about basic cleanliness in food prep and being obsessive about it.

                                              1. re: jgg13

                                                Agree with your view on being obsessive & admittedly more than a little obsessive myself. Occupational hazard of training people in the food industry and dealing with Health Departments on a regular basis. Who knew you actually had to teach food professionals how to wash their hands properly, take their aprons off before entering the bathroom and not to scratch their private parts while handling food even if they are wearing gloves? Me. Yep, I have a glamorous career in the sexy restaurant industry...is the hospital hiring?

                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                  Opps, didn't mean to scare the kids. Folks, the vast majority of food bourne illnesses are caused by home cooks not professionals. You can look it up if you don't believe me!

                                                  1. re: oldbaycupcake

                                                    heh :)

                                                    I fully expect that if I knew what went on in a kitchen that I'd be thouroughly grossed out. My grandfather was a health inspector (and of course, this was "back then") and his stories were *bad*. I think I mentioned this in another thread but I take the tactic that I'm exposed to so much "danger" in my daily life that it really doesn't matter - and most of these "health epidemics" (like the current tomato salmonella thing) affect a miniscule percentage of people. I have bigger things to worry about honestly.

                                                    Would I worry if a place is truly *dirty*? Of course ... Hep A does show up now and then ... but living in a city and reading about the health code violations have taught me that one really *does* need to be a bit cavalier about these things. Despite what Alton Brown might have taught me, I don't worry about the "contaimination zone" as much as he'd like. It is what it is. If I catch a bug, so be it, I could be hit by a bus walking to work tomorrow.

                                                    There's common sense and then there's "worrying about it", why worry? Life is too short.

                                      2. re: ricepad

                                        The rule I was always taught was "Always wash your hands when going from a non-food-handling task to a food-handling task." This applies for glove usage, as well.

                                        Where I work, the deli-style counter workers wear gloves when touching the food in front of customers. One person is a cashier, and the others handle the food. The main reason the employees wear gloves is for appearences sake; they only touch food, but too many people complained ("Shouldn't she be wearing gloves?").

                                        Personally, I hate the gloves. My hands would get much dirtier when I was wearing them because I could not feel the residue left on them. But then, when others were on break, and I had to handle money AND make the food, people would complain that it took too long because I had to spend 20-30 seconds washing my hands when I went from handling money to handling food. Well, since it's a damned if you do-damned if you don't scenario, I think the safest method is best.

                                      3. Blah! I realize this happens, I just prefer to be ignorant and not witness it! My imagination is probably worse then the germs , so I do my best to not let it run wild. I do penance being careful in areas that I CAN control, and hope for the best that the food I eat when out was handled correctly (or at least cooked at a high enough temp to burn away the sins). It would have made me leave.

                                        1. I have a story of a woman who spoke up. While waiting for food at a mall kiosk, the woman behind of me demanded that the fourteen-year-old worker get her a new order of fries. He had, apparently, touched money, then dared to scoop her fries, which included him touching the handle of the scoop and the outside of the cup the fries were served in. She angrily told him that he had not washed his hands after touchng money, and therefore her food was contaminated. He mumbled "sorry," and got her a fresh order.

                                          I, however, could not handle it when I saw her dig her hand into the cup and pull out some fries, and begin to eat them while we were waiting for burgers. SHe literally licked salt off her fingers. I merely said "The washrooms are right over there." She asked me why I said that. I replied that, since she had such distaste for dirty hands touching food, maybe she would like to go wash HER hands, as they had also handled money. My burger arrived (with a grin from the boy), and I walked away.

                                          So I have to ask: do you always wash your hands after touching money and before eating with them? Because I don't.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: miss_bennet

                                            miss bennet - remember this is about handling food and not washing your hands, the situation you just described does not do that - ie for the boy and I would not ever have an issue with that. However some people are paranoid and probably should never eat out.
                                            With money there are lots of issues - not just bacterial or viral and yes I do was my hands - maybe even more frequently than most after handling money if I am going to handle my or anyone else's food.

                                            1. re: PaulaT

                                              Actually, miss bennet is exactly right. The woman just handled her own money and then dug her hand in to her fries and proceeded to lick her fingers. Yet she just confronted the boy at the kiosk for touching money and then touching the fry scoop. Miss bennet was right to call the woman out on her hypocrosy.

                                              1. re: WineAboutIt

                                                Sorry thought that was what I was saying - the boy was not doing anything wrong - the lady was.
                                                And more more time the big thing is not bacterial as far as money goes.

                                          2. Your food goes through more in the BOH than you ever want to hear about. As a server, I don't have time to thoroughly wash my hands in between every table. I may have just touched someone else's silverware when I cleared their table or cashed out their tab and upon entering the kitchen immediately had YOUR food handed to me. I know it sounds gross but if you overthink the number of ways gross things could come in contact with your food you'll go crazy. Realistically, if small things like handling money really could make you sick there wouldn't be any healthy waitstaff. In response to the original post, I probably would have pretended to get a phone call which required me to leave suddenly.

                                            1. Report it to the health department.

                                              1. how many of you, come on, raise your hands, go to the drive thru, order your food, pay and eat the fries on the way home? Or, order food at the food court and eat it without washing your own hands?

                                                15 Replies
                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    Hand sanitizer is not an adequate substitute for washing your hands properly. Of course, how often do people wash their hands by lathering for 20-30 seconds?

                                                    Smartie: I ALWAYS eat those hot fries!

                                                    1. re: miss_bennet

                                                      sing "happy birthday" while you wash your hands. It gives the correct timeframe.

                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                        I've always been told to sing it twice consecutively for the correct time frame. I do it before cooking, and before working food service, but other than that, I can't be bothered.

                                                    2. re: jfood

                                                      jfood, sorry I don't believe that you or anyone else ALWAYS uses purel or anything similar. Never bought a sandwich, paid for it and eaten it immediately?

                                                      1. re: smartie

                                                        No jfood is not the boy in the bubble, but the trick is to minimize the chances. If one can do a simple clean before eating, think of how many people would not get sick.

                                                        But jfood has thrown people out of his office who walk in sick and want to chat. He tells them to go back to their office and call him.

                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                          You are not the boy in the bubble but you are a rare bird. In addition to the restaurant we do food festivals, a couple a year. Its all open to the public in a 10x10 booth - I have seen horrible things by other vendors and I wanted to do it right and also create the impression of cleanliness so I put out hand santitizers on my condiments counter as well as wet naps. We counted and Im sure we missed a couple, but we saw 4 ppl opt to clean before consuming. I thought it was a no brainer - these people are using portable toilets and wondering around for hours...14,000 in 2.5 days. It really shocked me.

                                                          1. re: coastie

                                                            from one pup avatar to another, and not a rare bird but a smart dog.

                                                            not only does jfood have the little purells in each car, but the big refill at home. He also has disposable gloves in the house and his fingers look like prunes when he is finished cooking.

                                                            And yes, jfood has washed his glove covered hands while prepping in the house.

                                                    3. re: smartie

                                                      I'm not that much of a neat freak, but at least I know where *my* hands have been...and even on the rare occasion that I eat convenience/fast food, if my hands aren't clean (by my standards), I'll wash them first.

                                                      (Handling money is not something I consider to be a great passer of germs...yeah, I know, I've read the news...but it just doesn't resonate with me. Not logical, I know, but sometimes I'm just not logical.)

                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                        Yeah, the reason behind money not passing as many germs is that most bacteria need to be on a living host to multiply/stay alive. Yes, money can pass on bacteria, but it has to happen quickly.

                                                        However, if someone wipes their nose, then touches money, I'll be bleaching my hands.

                                                        1. re: miss_bennet

                                                          But the counter person may have wiped their nose before you got there, then touched the money, then touched the food.

                                                          Who's to know?

                                                          1. re: dolores

                                                            I'm of the Ignorance is Bliss school when it comes to safe food handling. Yes, I want them to wash their hands. Yes, I'd be a bit disturbed if they didn't and I knew it. But if I don't know, I get to enjoy the food instead of fret about what could happen to me.

                                                            1. re: miss_bennet

                                                              Same here.

                                                              Fortunately, I've not yet gotten sick or died from restaurant germs.

                                                        2. re: ricepad

                                                          If one is to be a germaphobe, handling money should be enemy number one. If one takes a slackadaisical approach to germs, then it doesn't matter. If you're in the middle, you're doing the "out of sight, out of mind" thing, which doesn't fly.

                                                          1. re: jgg13

                                                            It flies just fine for me...I'm not dead yet. As for the "enemy number one" tag, I know a lot of people that'd say doorknobs deserve it more than money. Live and let live (or die), ok? It's my logic and my immune system being put to the test - nobody else's. No need to be judgmental.

                                                      2. I would have, and have done it, asked her to wash her hands before touching my food. When I saw her headed for the chicken, right after messing in the till, I would have stopped her/him right then. I don't have a problem doing that at all!

                                                        I don't think gloves are that great..unless you see the person put them on right there and then take care of the food. I've seen people use their gloved hands to hand out change..or wash counters, and then go over to make the sandwich or whatever. I always ask them to either wash their hands first or put on a new pair of gloves. Hey, get food poisoning a couple of times and it changes your perspective on speaking up!

                                                        1. I after thinking about this a while I realize that we are getting kinda off track, the issue isn't about what we do to our selves. Our own habits that may or may not make us sick is not the point. I do many, many, many risky things when it comes to food, but they are my own choice. I love nearly raw hamburger, raw shellfish, sushi, raw fish, but that is my choice. If I choose to eat my fries or anything else without washing my hands or after it drops on the floor that is my problem. And it is also true that we get our selves sick at home more often than when we eat out as was pointed out on another similar thread, but the issue is if we are going to let someone else put us at the same or worse risk. I will not chide someone handling non-food items (the handle and outside basket of fries) for not washing their hands after handling money, trash, the floor etc..., But I will NOT let them handle my food after the same behavior, that is not their right and it is my right to say the risk is mine if I want to take it.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: PaulaT

                                                            you need to contact the local health department, in most states you do not have to leave your name, but do offer to give them a recipt or proof of purchase. they will usally contact the establishment. if i go to bigger places i always respond to their survays. and i all cases i have heard from someone.
                                                            the worst examples of this are food establishments that reuse gloves some actually will keep a pair in their pockets and use them over and over again, when i go to sushi bars i always watch several orders being prepared before i decide what to order; or to order at all. when you are standing inline look at the other areas the kitchen knife laying on the counter, face, hair and touching different parts of the body ande now cell phone use whill handling food, high volume place even if its not the best are the best bet.

                                                          2. Spent four semesters in a cooking course at Niagara College many years ago. The first day of one class, was not in the kitchen but rather the classroom which I can’t remember it’s name, we where giving spoons and other things to look at. They were passed around the class and then three students were brought to the font of the class and asked to name what they had in their hands and tell a little story about what they where holding. Then the teacher said to the three students go and wash your hands. When the three returned, the teacher asked the three students did you wash your hands? Of course all three said yes. The teacher then took out a black light and went over their hands with the light. What we did not know was that the spoons where covered in some sort of powder that would be illuminated with the black light. To all our surprise all three had some powder still on their hands and even on the arm. The point was not to wash your hands, but rather how to wash your hands! That hour or more was spent on how to wash your hands.

                                                            Last Sunday my wife and I went to the Healthy Bucher to see what all the fuss is about. They had some bread from that Alsatian restaurant on King St., and so I purchased a loaf (it was a good loaf of bread). We also purchased some Duck liver and chicken wings. When we went to pay for our goods, the cashier asked if I would like a bag. I said yes, it would make it easier to carry our goods. So the bread is in a bag that is not closed or sealed and the cashier placed all our goods in one bag. I ask if this was a good ideal placing an open bag of cooked food in a bag with raw meat. The cashier had a confused look on her face. She then went on about how the staff uses gloves when handling the raw food. Which I though look good and is a nice touch, however, unsure what the gloves do for my food when it is in a bag. It just means that their hands are not as contaminated as the gloves. They still touch the outside of the bag and place the raw chicken and duck liver inside the bag. Who is kidding who, gloves look nice, but give the false sense of safe food handling. Without any concern for her self-esteem I said I want my bread in its own bag!

                                                            Food handling safety is very important and what I see out there scares the heck out of me at times. If you are concern about food safety you should raise this with the establishment, not just for your sake, but for the sake of others!

                                                            To all those who feel that Duckdown is overreacting, I would not like to eat at your house.

                                                            1. I still feel guilty that I didn't say anything six years ago when I saw a produce worker at Pike's in Seattle leave the bathroom without washing her hands.

                                                              1. I have to admit that I'm inconsistent on this. At the farmer's market, they all seem to touch the fruit, slice it, etc. and also handle money, so I'm not sure what to do about this. I'm more concerned about stuff like fish, etc., but people seem so lackadaisical about sanitation, etc., that I sometimes wonder if I'm being a bit too obsessive.

                                                                Like at home, if I touch seafood, I always wash my hands before touching another surface. Ditto with touching garbage (even though most of the garbage I generate is veggie and fruit scraps, so probably fine). Not sing-happy-birthday-twice washing hands, but a good few seconds of scrubbing with soap.

                                                                But then I'm shocked at what my coworkers do or sometimes even friends who come over. Like I was peeling and deveining shrimp, and after I was finished, I washed my hands. With soap. My friend wanted to "help" me, so she deveined a few shrimp, and all she did was run her hands quickly under water (no soap), which kindof grossed me out, but then I thought, maybe I'm the one being obsessive/neurotic.

                                                                At work, they do all sorts of things. One woman put her shoes on the tables that we eat at. Don't people think this is GROSS???

                                                                Another person put the lid of a garbage can on a table that they put food on w/o wiping it, which also is a no no in my books. Anyway, the list goes on and on. My mom would flip if she saw any of this. So maybe I'm being too neurotic.

                                                                But as for my inconsistency, I eat samples of food at the farmer's market all the time, which means I'm eating with the same hand that has handled $. . . so I think that in my case, with the $ thing, it's more a matter of looking the other way.

                                                                I'm more concerned about people washing hands after handling garbage, seafood (or meat), and washing hands after going to the bathroom, which many of my coworkers also don't seem to do. Don't even get me started.