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Mar 10, 2014 05:24 AM

Food safety rules a mistake, legislature seeks repeal after two months

Good intentions trumped by reality. Here's a good summary of the bad results of good intentions re: the California legislation requiring food handlers to wear gloves. Choice quotes:

"There was not a specific incident that led to the new rules."
"Oh the good intentions were there, all right. But nobody with any real experience in the real world of restaurant and bar operations was consulted."
"Holy smoke! Fifty thousand plastic gloves a year going into landfills, just for bagels and just at one establishment. Who could have predicted that "

Read the whole thing:

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  1. They ought to revise it to make it easier for bartenders and sushi preparers, but I hope they don't repeal it. The objective of preventing the transfer of pathogens by contact to food is sound. Influenza virus in one pathogen that can be spread through contact, and more than 300 people have died in California this season from influenza-related illness.

    A couple of quotes from the SF Chronicle article illustrate the misinformation put out by the people who object to this law:

    "A dirty glove is worse than a clean hand," Pan said. "Gloves don't inherently guarantee safety."

    You're not supposed to use dirty gloves, dummy.

    "All our prep is done with public health in mind," he said. "But there is no science that I know of that says food-borne illness is more likely to be spread with bare hands than latex gloves."

    Some pathogens are spread through contact, and can be transferred from cash or credit cards to food when one person handles both food and money. Putting on new gloves when starting food prep and disposing of them when done minimizes this risk. And they don't have to be latex. Polyethelene gloves for food prep use are inexpensive and recyclable.

    Here's a link to the original article without the right-wing commentary:

    5 Replies
    1. re: GH1618

      If people aren't worried washing their hands they aren't going to be concerned about dirty gloves.

      300 people may have died due to influenza in California. So, all of those are due to not wearing gloves in a food service environments? Some of those? None of those?

      The assemblyman who carried the bill, who is a physician, knows that it went too far.

      Glove use should be used, I think we all agree on that, but I think the law went too far and, more importantly, too fast.

      1. re: HoosierFoodie

        "... too far ... too fast."

        That's why it should be revised, but there is no need to repeal it generally, in my opinion. It would be better merely to exempt bartenders and sushi preparers until appropriate revisions are made.

        1. re: GH1618

          How would you revise it? I think that is the main question.

        2. re: HoosierFoodie

          Too far, too fast? No, more importantly it was written and enacted without consulting any person or establishment in the food service industry or indeed without informing the food service industry that such regulations were forthcoming. Those without any actual experience deciding they know what is best for those who actually have the experience and expertise is what is wrong with this particular regulation and why is is mock-worthy, indeed why is shouldn't have been enacted in the first place.

          1. re: janniecooks

            Sadly, there are far too many laws and regulations where this same thing is true.

      2. There is no existing science that supports glove use. It is there to mollify customers and gives both them and employees a false sense of security. I've had this confirmed for me several times by our State and County BoH members and professional Food Safety experts.

        You really think sneezing into a gloved hand is better than a naked one when the hand belongs to a 16-year-old at Subway? You think there's a greater likelihood of changing gloves than washing hands in that context? Experience says no.

        All the scary stats about Influenza and contact disease transmission are true but aren't changed a whit by the use of gloves. A dirty glove is no better or worse than a dirty hand, and a clean hand is no worse than a clean glove. Employees frequently go from handling cash directly to handling food without changing gloves in many places I've been and to pretend that doesn't happen with the exact same frequency that they forget to wash their hands between transactions is just disingenuous.

        "Gloves protect your hands from food, nothing else, even though that is the opposite of their intention. A colossal waste of time and money for no benefit," according to one member of the special advisory panel on gloves for the County BoH I interviewed.

        Proper hand washing and use of tongs and other serving implements, which have always been in the Code, completely eliminate the need for gloves.

        Why is it that every citation of common sense and reason and fact is referred to as "right-wing?"

        9 Replies
        1. re: acgold7

          Someone who is sneezing should not be working in food prep, gloves or not. And if a person in food prep sneezes into a glove, the glove needs to be discarded. This is basic.

          1. re: GH1618

            People "should" and "need" to obey speed limits too. That is also basic. But what do should and need have to do with anything?

            Nobody ever does.

            And really, hay fever? Allergies? A stray hair? You're going to send all of these people home at the first random sneeze?

            1. re: acgold7

              If disposable gloves do not reduce the transmission of pathogens, it is because of disregard of the protocol, not because the use of gloves is ineffective. Training and enforcement are necessary to make any protocol work effectively.

              No, you do not send someone home because of a random sneeze, but you have protocols to prevent contamination of food to the extent that's possible. Illness in a food prep area is a real concern, as is failure to follow sanitation protocols.

              1. re: GH1618

                Training and enforcement of the protocols already in place make the gloves completely unnecessary. Gloves add nothing but a false sense of security.

                Everything you have said is completely true except for the assumption/assertion that gloves can do anything to reduce illness. They can't and don't.

                1. re: acgold7

                  We will just agree to disagree on your last statement, then.

            2. re: GH1618

              So what should the person do. Stay home with no pay

            3. re: acgold7

              Not every citation is from a "right-wing" source, but American Thinker seems to be one. That's why I provided a link to the original source of the article. There is no need for that extra layer of political opinion around the news story.

              1. re: GH1618

                American Thinker is no more right wing than SFGate is left wing. There is room, nay there is a NEED, for both without sneering labeling. And The American Thinker article includes a link to the original article on which it is providing commentary right at the beginning of its article, which is heavily excerpted therein.

              2. re: acgold7

                Agree, acgold7.

                My sister in law is a McDonald's manager and she's had years of problems with what her husband calls "Magic Gloves.". That as long as they are wearing gloves, many kids think they don't need to be careful. That the gloves alone are enough. Nope!

              3. Seeing as I've personally witnessed gloved employees make my sandwich, then handle money, then go back to making sandwiches without switching gloves, I really don't think gloves do a damn bit of good. Hopefully it will get repealed and we can all forget about the stupidity of it all.

                3 Replies
                1. re: juliejulez

                  I've seen the same thing at a coffee shop I frequent. I won't eat there. It's a training and enforcement problem.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    Exactly my point all along. Bare hands or gloved makes no difference, if they're picking their nose as they dish up your McMuffin.

                  2. re: juliejulez

                    Anyways all of these sandwiches are no good for a healthy diet even without the pathogens. So good riddance and welcome home-made food!

                  3. I stopped buying sandwiches at Subway/Quiznos forever after I saw the same guy re-use a pair of gloves that went between handling cash and food. Gross.