California Likely To Take Back Its Bare Hands Law

Mar 28 2014, 7:10pm CDT | by

California Likely To Take Back Its Bare Hands Law
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

California is reconsidering its ban on bare-hand contact on ready-to-eat food at restaurants and bars, a law that took effect in January.

The Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday voted unanimously to repeal and revisit the regulation, AP reports.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a non-controversial bill last year with an update requiring workers to use forks or wear gloves when handling ready-to-eat food like sushi and lettuce. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that workers touching food provided the most common transmission pathway for food-originated norovirus outbreaks, according to the most recent data available. But as soon as the law took effect, restaurants and bar owners said they had to change the way they served the food in a way that hindered business.

“We heard from chefs, bartenders, waiters, everyone down the line that the law changed how they serve food and provided a false sense of security for folks, because clean hands are better than dirty gloves,” said Robert Abelon, district director for Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), in a phone interview.

The law allowed for exceptions if restaurants showed good hygiene practices, but each county health officer was interpreting it differently.

“Some counties were giving exceptions, some weren’t. A lot of counties are understaffed and wouldn’t be able to enforce the law, which would roll it back,” according to Abelon.

In late February, Pan and Sacramento council member Steve Hansen introduced a legislation, AB 2130, that would repeal the ban. The new law would attempt to create more specific guidelines that were implemented gradually.

“We wanted to revisit this law so that restaurant and bar owners can provide safe and clean food, but not in a way that hinders what they do as a profession,” said Abelon.

California would have joined 41 other states that have already enforced their own version of the law.

Pan has said it was up to local businesses and health inspectors to work together to create a safe environment for customers.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

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