HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Squid Ink Reports All LA Sushi Chefs Forced to Wear Gloves

Sushi aficionados what say you?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. Really?! Must the gov't police the act of making nigiri?

      2 Replies
      1. re: J.L.

        I'm with you. It's getting so absurd. So many other things that needs policing and problem solving. This is not one of them.

        1. re: J.L.

          Welcome to the age of the govt regulating every possible area of your life that you allow them...... This is what happens when voters don't clean house every now and again.... The apathy of the voting public and pervasive attitude that the govt knows better than you does and will affect everyone at some point of time.

        2. It's a stupid rule. There is a legitimate problem with occasional food poisoning from restaurants, but this law won't solve it. Sushi bars aren't where the problem is anyway. Sushi preparers are probably the cleanest of all food preparers, because of tradition and because they work right in front of the customer.

          1. This is terrible news, not to mention that plastic bags at retail have just been banned.....and now plastic waste creation is being mandated?! This flies in the face of what the public needs and demands.

            1. I'm going to request that they not wear gloves.

              If we don't tell, who will?

              The government can create traffic jams on busy bridges, but they can't be at every sushi counter.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                except ones that serve endangered species, unlawful product or violate labor laws.

              2. There is a procedure for getting an exemption. I expect some sushi bars will do that.

                1. Here's the actual code (re the gloves) if people are curious:

                  ARTICLE 6. Hygienic Practices [113973 - 113978] ( Article 6 added by Stats. 2006, Ch. 23, Sec. 2. )

                  (a) Single-use gloves shall be worn when contacting food and food-contact surfaces if the employee has any cuts, sores, rashes, artificial nails, nail polish, rings (other than a plain ring, such as a wedding band), uncleanable orthopedic support devices, or fingernails that are not clean, smooth, or neatly trimmed.
                  (b) Whenever gloves are worn, they shall be changed, replaced, or washed as often as handwashing is required by this part. Single-use gloves shall not be washed.
                  (c) If used, single-use gloves shall be used for only one task, such as working with ready-to-eat food or with raw food of animal origin, used for no other purpose, and shall be discarded when damaged or soiled, or when interruptions in the food handling occur.
                  (d) Except as specified in subdivision (e), slash-resistant gloves that are used to protect the hands during operations requiring cutting shall be used only with food that is subsequently cooked as specified in Section 114004, such as frozen food or a primal cut of meat.
                  (e) Slash-resistant gloves may be used with ready-to-eat food that will not be subsequently cooked if the slash-resistant gloves have a smooth, durable, and nonabsorbent outer surface or if the slash-resistant gloves are covered with a smooth, durable, nonabsorbent glove, or a single-use glove.
                  (f) Cloth gloves may not be used in direct contact with food unless the food is subsequently cooked.
                  (Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 556, Sec. 10. Effective January 1, 2014.)

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: chrishei

                    Actually I don't think that's the main HSC re the gloves. I'll look for it when I get back into work after lunch.

                    1. re: chrishei

                      Yeah. I'll have to check what's up next time at Shunji's or Mori.

                      1. re: kevin

                        I've already talked to Shunji-san about this.

                        He says he cannot make good sushi anymore.

                        My eyes welled up.

                  2. Here's a link to the entire bill, California AB 1252:


                    The reason the glove provision got so little attention is probably because the main point of the bill is to authorize "cottage food" operations. This did receive publicity.

                    On reading the entire bill, I don't have a problem with it. Any good sushi bar should be able to qualify for an exemption.

                    16 Replies
                    1. re: GH1618

                      Yup that was what I was looking for. Thanks!

                      1. re: GH1618

                        Any good sushi bar should be able to qualify for an exemption.
                        How would "good sushi bar" be determined? Price? Track record? CH favorites? I wouldn't bet on it.

                        1. re: Porthos

                          Porthos, that is a solid point.

                          1. re: Porthos

                            Btw. What does it mean to cook something "a pointe" or "a point" ?????


                            1. re: Porthos

                              It will be determined by their ability to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Dept. Of Health that they should have an exemption. This would be based on sanitation, practices of the sushi preparers (they do not handle money, for example), and such.

                              1. re: GH1618

                                It will be determined by their ability ...


                                ... to hand a little money under the table to the health inspector.

                            2. re: GH1618

                              It seems this is another case of people reacting without reading. I could be wrong, but after reading the law, I don't see how high-end sushi restaurants will be affected. Unless, that is, the itamae has an open wound on their hands. Is there anyone out there that would prefer to have a chef with a weeping sore handle their rice as opposed to putting on a glove?

                              I think Shunji and Kiriko are safe. I am, however, no lawyer. Perhaps I'm missing something that those up in arms are seeing more clearly.

                              1. re: cacio e pepe

                                ยง113961(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.

                                1. re: chrishei

                                  There is a provision for an exemption.

                                  1. re: chrishei

                                    Keep reading, sir, especially subdivision e and f. Again, I think our sushi is safe from rubber gloves. Now, safe from paperwork is another matter.

                                      1. re: kevin

                                        Counting their money?
                                        But in all seriousness, I'd love to know the legislator's intent here.

                                        1. re: cacio e pepe

                                          The intent was to allow "cottage food" operations while ensuring food safety. The act is not about sushi.

                                          1. re: GH1618

                                            It sure seems that way. I think you and I are reading this law the same way.

                                            At worst, it puts some onus on sushi restaurants to show they meet the standards to continue to prepare raw foods meant for immediate consumption with bare hands. A little more paper work? Perhaps a few changes to operating procedure? Sure. All sushi chefs donning gloves? I don't read that in the law.

                                2. re: GH1618

                                  SF Chronicle published the relevant sections:

                                  Still haven't completely digested this.

                                3. It seems the critical language regarding gloves (except generally for food workers with cuts, sores, etc.) is in H&S 113961(b). Take a look at all the rules - not only is it tough to wade through, I bet it will be hard for the mom and pop places to figure out how to comply.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: bundyal

                                    It's the "mom and pop places" that are the main focus of the law, as it was written for "cottage food" operations. I don't want mom and pop following sloppy food handling practices if they are selling to the public. If they can't figure it out, get into another type of business.

                                    Case in point: a nearby coffee shop with some short order food prep recently started using disposable gloves for food prep. The problem is, employees move back and forth between food prep and the cash register, as it is too small a place to always have a person doing only food prep. Often, perhaps most of the time, a person who has been doing food prep will operate the register with the gloves on, then return to the food prep area with the same gloves on. A lot of people who hold these minimum wage jobs are clueless, and the owner isn't around often enough to keep an eye on it.

                                    1. re: GH1618

                                      Jeez, even at my local Subway they know to remove the gloves when at the cash register and then put on a fresh pair for the next sandwich they make..... Hence the term single use.

                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                        Subway, being a huge chain, probably has a better training and supervising regimen than a typical mom and pop operation.

                                        1. re: GH1618

                                          Oh yes, I would think that it obvious..... But it is one of the few places I've been where the food prep person also rings you up.

                                  2. Pretty soon we'll be forced to wear gloves while we're eating.

                                    3 Replies
                                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                        Boxing gloves. Problematic when we are eating sushi.

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          But not as much so when devouring Brobingdian turkey legs.

                                      1. Seriously -- for just an instant! -- I think gloves on a sushi chef both complicate and contaminate the process. Pulling those gloves off is an extra step, so they might not be so quick to do it every time a piece of fish touches the gloves; then, the chef might move to another fish with the same pair of gloves. Without the gloves, the chef might have washed his hands before moving on to the next roll or item.
                                        Doesn't this create the same problem as in the cold case when the fish touch each other? Ideally, each fish should have its separate plate.

                                        I also think that the gloves offer false security for a "dirty" hand. Why be so careful washing if gloves are used? And how easy it is to puncture those disposable gloves with a shell fish.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: liu

                                          Very good points ESP when it comes to sushi.

                                          1. re: liu

                                            Plus, I don't want to taste plastic/latex on my poorly constructed pieces of sushi.

                                            1. re: chrishei


                                              I also don't want to taste the last handroll on my nigiri.

                                            2. re: liu

                                              No. A sushi preparer typically does not interrupt his work for other tasks. He may use one pair of gloves to prepare several orders.

                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                Folks, this thread is attracting a lot of jokes, as well as general debate on whether government is evil, and it would probably be helpful if people tried to stay a little more focused on the topic at hand. Thanks so much!

                                                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                  But government is evil.


                                                  Ok. And onto the next thread to greener pastures.

                                            3. Chef here just recently moved from NY to LA. This law seems very similar to the ready to eat laws in NY. Big corporate restaurants tend to have all workers wear gloves with prepared foods. Smaller and more fine dining restaurants keep gloves on the station and when health department comes every one puts gloves on (as well as a host of other things that change once health department arrives.) I believe that the better sushi places just eat the fine.

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  I know a petition is going around. I signed one at Mori the other night