Thursday, June 19, 2014

"The Glove Law" Repealed

As we approach the month of July, we are dealing with a new law that forces all of our employees to receive a food handlers' certificate. At the outset, and from the outside, this seems like another great idea. Sure, what does it hurt to force any employee involved in food handling to pass a test about food handling? It can only improve food safety, right? Well, you won't get an argument from me on that. It just makes too much sense, but I digress... it's not real world application!

The law is not practical for many reasons (which Ray mentioned in an
article last month), but we won't get into that again. We will, however, give an example of what appears to be a good, logical government-enforced law within the food industry, that really wasn't. And that law is the food handlers "Glove Law" in the state of California. Mind you, California was also the first state to enact the "Food Handlers' Certificate" as well.

There is currently
legislation in the state of California to repeal the the "Glove Law," which essentially required all employees who would handle food to wear gloves. The law even extended to bartenders who would touch food while making a beverage. Many chefs and bartenders have fought against this law since it was invoked. Members of the food industry in California gathered a petition with 11,000 signatures on it to begin the process of eliminating this law. Politicians are following in agreement.

While gloves may be a good idea, workers would still need to wash their hands just as frequently OR change gloves over and over and over again to prevent the foodborne illnesses the law tries to protect against. In fact, in some cases, studies have found that gloves are actually more unsanitary than hands because of a false sense of security a food handler may have. They might assume because they wear gloves, their hands are always clean, which in most cases couldn't be further from the truth!

Other chefs have complained that they need to feel their food and have a solid connection with their dishes. Chefs consider themselves like a sculptor and want to feel their masterpieces. Beyond that, food dishes that are tossed in oils, dressings, or light sauces are now becoming laced with the smell of latex and powder from the gloves. All of these are good points. It's also a good point to protect against foodborne illness.

The bottom line is: "Are you doing the right things when you're touching food, whether you have gloves on or not?" No law will ever protect against that!

No comments:

Post a Comment