Using your hands is essential to making food. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Using your hands is, um, essential to making food.
Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

I remember cooking for my dear Uncle Jon at my dad’s house, and after sticking my finger into a simmering pot of sauce to taste it, he looked at me as if I’d just spit into the food. When I confirmed that he was indeed concerned about germs, I was astonished.

He seemed to have no idea that any bacteria on my finger would be killed by the heat (billions on the food and in the pot probably had been) and that my hands were the cleanest in the kitchen because, as I was cooking, I was continually washing them. (Please no comments from ID docs telling me about heat-resistant toxins; I’m not picking my nose and sticking it in food.) Yes, the cleanest hands in the kitchen.

I was alerted to the new California law requiring more use of gloves by cooks (for any “ready-to-eat” food) no matter the venue. Now, I suppose if you eat in a seriously skanky-ass food joint—smells bad, there’s no toilet paper in the john—you might want the guy putting together your BLT to have gloves on. But at any busy restaurant, my experience has been that the cooks’ hands are the cleanest in the place. You’re more likely to pick up germs from the waiter’s hand that sets your plate before you—but you don’t hear the legislators clamoring for this.

Yes, this California law is more of America’s ridiculous germ paranoia, and it makes me nuts. Especially as the people making the laws are likely the most ignorant of any people actually qualified to be judging the situation. Who would you trust on this issue—a tableful of bureaucrats in suits or a gathering of talented chefs who have been in the business for twenty years?

The chefs think, for the most part, that the law is not only silly, but it makes their work harder and is arguably less sanitary, as a cook is less likely to wash gloved hands, especially during a busy service.

So this law is in fact encouraging the very problem it strives to prevent. God, I’m glad I’m not governed by California—what a bunch of knuckleheads when it comes to food! Why don’t you people actually try to know what the fuck you’re talking about before legislating? Jesus.

Happily, I don’t live there and so can use this law to talk about something important: the pleasures of touching food. Thomas Keller loves to make pasta, in large part because the dough is so soft and supple on the fingers, such a pleasure to touch. The late Jean-Louis Palladin loved food so much he would get very close to it, to a piece of tuna belly, say, and stroke it lovingly. Our friend Susie Heller told me, “I wish I had a boyfriend who touched me the way Jean-Louis touches food!”

Yes, touching food is one of the great pleasures of cooking. Separating eggs, making meatballs, pasta, bread, swooping out a finger-load of sweet whipped cream and delivering it straight to the tongue (and then washing the hand!). Take the time to appreciate the texture and tone of the food you’re cooking and eating. It’s part of the fun of cooking.

Yes, Donna still gets annoyed when I reach across the table and jab my finger into her steak to make sure I’ve cooked it right (“Michael, get your hands out of my food!”), so I’ve stopped.

But if there’s one good thing about the debate over this California law, it’s a chance to call attention to the great pleasures of touching the food that you’re cooking with bare hands.

Hands are essential in making all of our foods, especially the most delicate ones. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Part of the pleasure of making pasta at home is the feel of the dough.
Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Pasta Dough

  • 9 ounces/255 grams all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • 3 eggs
  1. Combine the flour and eggs in a bowl and mix them with your fingers to combine.
  2. When the dough comes together, knead it on a floured board or countertop, pressing it with the heel of your hand, folding it over, kneading, folding until it is velvety smooth. This will take 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Form the dough into a disk. Put a towel or plastic wrap over the dough and let it rest on the counter for 20 to 60 minutes. The dough can also be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
  4. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces, roll them into the desired thinness and cut as you wish. You can cut your noodles using a pasta machine or with a knife.

 

Other links you may like:

© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.

 

Share

71 Wonderful responses to “The Cleanest Hands”

  • Glenn

    The “money quote” – “…a cook is less likely to wash gloved hands, especially during a busy service.” THIS! My son is a chef in Charleston & he can attest to this w/a long string of line cooks he’s hired, mentored, & worked with daily. It IS California, so it is not surprise – they have a long history of regulating w/o knowledge.

  • Jess

    In defense of California we are definitely not the first state to enact this type of law. We just had our first health inspection since the new law was passed. After joking around with our inspector about it, we have a really good agent assigned to our district, he went on to rattle off the obvious talking points about how the glove law spares people from lots of bacteria, viruses, etc. He then went on to explain how they aren’t enforcing it for 6 months. Must be incredibly serious, right? It’s a ridiculous law, we will be enforcing it by having gloves at every station and wearing them religiously when the inspector arrives.

  • marie

    Thanks for this post. As someone with a degree in microbiology, this has irritated me for years. Uninformed America is insane about germs and the kicker is that paranoia about bacteria and over-reliance on antibiotics is actually causing us to have less resistance to ‘every day’ bugs all around us – and making us sicker more often. Ironically, most germ hysterics will gladly open a box of processed whatever and consume (or serve to their kids) whatever chemicals, additives and quota of rodent hairs that are permitted within.

    • ruhlman

      thank you. nice to have an expert weigh in. my copy editor has a friend who’s OCD on germs and her kids are always sick (perhaps because of a natural lack of defense).

      • Becca H.

        I have a Step Daughter that is constantly bleaching everything.. Her daughter is always sick… I guess these people and there glove law have never heard of cross contamination.. I am afraid we will be seeing more of it, with the use of gloves..

  • Dean

    Sadly, too much legislation is non impediti ratione cogitationis (not impeded by rational thought) and this glove law seems to follow the pattern. Nonetheless, your view of the joy of being in contact with food while cooking is spot on.

  • Kent Bunn

    Does a fundamental lack of understanding of science by legislators really come as a shock to anyone?

    • chris r

      No more than a fundamental lack of an understanding of epidemiology on the part of food writers.

  • Annie

    Yes! I have often seen food service people with gloved hands that I thought were probably MUCH dirtier than anyone knew, but because they had “sanitary gloves” on, no one critiques. Same thing with medical staff. Unless you are changing gloves between each and every task, gloves are no guarantee of sanitation. And even then, gloves are typically coming out of a big box that is sitting around in the environment for days, weeks or longer. Unless the environment is super clean (which it should be, but may not be), then dust, dirt and other stuff is creeping into the box of gloves. They certainly are not sterile.

    I’m a fan of gloves for certain kitchen tasks I do, but mainly stuff like handling raw meat or making mozzarella. Or if I have a cut, then gloves keep the blood out of the food, which is good.

  • Rich

    I have eaten at many food stands in Mexico. Of course they cook without gloves. When do they think it’s prudent to put on gloves? The gloves go on when they take your money and give you back change.

  • Jules

    Ugh. There’s a reason why you’re not supposed to wear a ring or a watch when you’re cooking. And while I don’t get that much of a kick out of touching food, I do think that wearing gloves makes it less safe to use sharp knives. (I have no basis for this, FWIW–just my own little hunch)

  • Mitch

    Right on ya. It is food service workers who have the potential to spread pathogens, not the food preparation workers. I’m old school, having owned and operated a health care facility for 40 years, spanning the pre-gloving era and the modern OSHA oversight era. I will never forget two telling occurrences. One time sitting in a booth at a regional chain eatery, I observed the busing attendant clearing an adjacent table, sneezing right on the cleared table and using a wet rag to spread the mucus all over the table. I hoped the next patrons got there after the table dried. Another time, a grocery store clerk wearing gloves who was arranging apples for a display sneezed, took out a tissue, blew his nose, put the tissue back in his pocket, and continued to stock the display wearing the same gloves. His reply to my comment about spreading germs was “Oh, its all right. I’m wearing gloves”. The only occasions I use gloves in the kitchen is when seeding and mincing hot peppers; and in the winter to help prevent those damned end-of-finger-painful splits; and of course when I’m bleeding!

  • Bob

    And if food safety were only as simple as wearing gloves. It’s not. Nor is the risk the law is trying (badly) to address limited to ‘ready to eat’ foods.

    I’d much rather employees in the food service industry receive proper education (certification?) in food safety than be saddled with a busy-work regulation about wearing gloves.

    Because if your practices are unsafe without gloves, they’re unsafe WITH them.

  • Nancy

    “…as a cook is less likely to wash gloved hands, especially during a busy service.” At home, when I prepare preserved lemons, or work with chiles, I wear gloves because my skin is very sensitive and I notice every time, that I wash my hands less than I do when not wearing gloves. This is a stupid, stupid law.

  • Marie

    This is a great article, and I’m with you 100%! It’s so frustrating that people who are uneducated in an important area such as ID are making laws that will probably exacerbate or encourage what they are trying to avoid.

  • Jason Cohen

    Isn’t the key phrase “ready-to-eat”? In the state/county where I learned food safety, that just meant uncooked food going directly to a customer (salads, sandwich ingredients) or plating cooked food (if you couldn’t use tongs or spatula). Did not apply to kneading dough, most prep or even raw meat (though most people would choose to wear gloves for that). Would apply to sushi, of course, which I know has been a big part of the uproar. Agree people use ‘em as a crutch, wash hands less often.

    • ruhlman

      People who prepare raw or have their hands on cooked food for service should wash their hands. I think this is a fairly bit of food safety.

  • karen downie

    hmmmm…I may have to side with CA on this if I am to understand this rule is for ready-to-eat food. Keller can still touch pasta while he makes it from scratch, he just can’t mound it onto my plate with his bare paws. NY has the same law and this is how culinary students are now instructed at one of your alma maters, the CIA. Many restaurants ask their cooks to use a glove for ready-to-eat items whether or not it is in their state health code. I am a private/personal chef and despite my enthusiasm for frequent hand-washing, gloves are still part of my tool kit….FOR READY TO EAT FOOD. I still use the warmth of my hand to seal a meatball…I still like to mix voluminous batches on their way to the oven with my hands. But if simply donning gloves reassures my clientele, possibly keeps them healthier, and keeps occupational fingertip eczema off my hands (so many production cooks get it from touching food!), I’m all for it. Plus, my business, and every other food service professional’s business, will be permanently sunk if even ONE individual decrees you to be a Typhoid Mary. Wearing gloves is a minor cost of doing business with MAJOR benefits.

      • karen downie

        I think there is insufficient data to support the above statement. Proper glove usage (changed between tasks) is as sanitary as using clean utensils (washed between tasks). And no line cook can stop every 4-5 minutes for a full, thorough handwashing and drying during the Sat. night rush. He or she CAN take 30 seconds to swap out gloves

        • Obie Serious

          The law (at least in AZ where I am a chef) states that you must wash your hands before putting on new gloves anyway.

      • Mantonat

        Too true. I watched a guy wipe down his sandwich station with a filthy rag before reaching for the ingredients to make my sandwich, all with gloves on. I thought about asking him to change his gloves, but decided that his entire station was probably a big petri dish, so I just said “never mind” and walked out. I’m not a germaphobe by any means, but I’ve seen too many food handlers act like the gloves are there to keep their hands clean instead of to keep the food clean. If you have gloves on, you really lose any sense of when it’s time to wash your hands.

  • Tags

    Soon they’ll have jars like the barbers put their combs in at all their salad bars to “sanitize” the ingredients.

    • Jason

      It’s called Victory water and it’s made by Ecolab. It’s used in a lot of restaurants. Lame.

  • Jim Buttitta

    As I have a latex allergy, I am far more likely to be sickened by the glove than by any supposed germs from a hand

    • Meg

      Jim- Right on! I replied to this post before I saw yours! Same allergy here. Our Health Dept does nothing to educate folks about the dangers of and alternatives to latex. I mean, if you would put peanuts in EVERY dish you make, then why latex?!

    • Mantonat

      They are mostly vinyl or plastic these days, not latex, for exactly this reason.

  • Michael McCullen

    The problem is not with the Chef or the Mgr usually in this situation but the people actually producing the food on the line. As a former chef and manager in several corporate concepts, I had ServSafe and food handling training. Gloves are important, yes, but mandating the use of gloves is indulging paranoia. Comparing Chef Keller and his standards to your local Chili’s is absurd. State governments write these rules as one size fits all, and that is not the case. I for one, do not consider myself qualified to tell a sushi master to wear gloves to handle my sushi, when he has been perfecting his art since I was in diapers. I have a CIA degree and over 27 years in the BOH. Having dealt with more health inspectors in more states than I care to recount, there are many good ones who can see that you are preaching glove use and hand washing, and the two go together. There are also inspectors that live to be a hard ass. Gloves are misused more often than not, and will contribute to more illness, not less.

    • Michael Ruhlman

      that’s part of what’s at issue, law applies to French Laundry and Subways.

  • Marti

    I mostly agree. However, I was recently at my son’s elementary school where the students (ASB) were selling nachos. I would have LOVED to see some gloves on those grubby 10 year old hands…lol!

    • Laura

      Same thing I was thinking. What is the best ratio for pasta? I usually have good success with 1 egg and 1 tsp oil per 100 grams of flour. As for the gloves…I don’t think we need a law for this. Good training and common sense could be enough in most cases.

  • Maria Aparecida Neuenscchwander

    As an educator and a mother I soon realized that prevention is important and necessary but never paranoic. My doctor teached me a lesson: don´t try to protect the kids too much. To their wellness on development, they need to be exposed for their own protection. So I did. I treated the issue normally, with low stress and my son has 32 years old of good health. During the children development, the act of touch the food, feel the food is very important as part of their process to grow up. I think the cook feels the same pleasure in touching the food and why laws about this? Is there any epidemic situation coming from restaurants? Chef. They don´t have to much to think probably.
    I prefer to beleive that good chefs are using the good sense and good true rules concerning the maintenance of a clean beautiful kitchen. And is enough. These others are only legislators, without laws to do.
    So, no gloves at all especially to the cook who needs to feel the pleasure of manipulating his creature: the recipes, the beauty of the food as their kids after all.

  • Christine

    I had a customer react with such intensity of horror to the fact that I touched the outer rind of the cheese I had just cut for him with my clean fingertips that I had to replace his entire order. I try to use a bakery tissue as much as possible to avoid offending the squeamish, but using gloves while cutting (the time when most contact between my hands and the cheese takes place) feels less safe using gloves, a cumbersome ill fitting layer between me and the knife and the wheel of cheese.The illusion of sterility to which Americans have come to expect in food is exacerbated by the germ killing products being marketed now. Gloves, hand sanitizers et al are just that- illusions- if the entire chain of food handlers don’t care about cleanliness and hygiene at work.

  • Jim Dixon

    Bryan Steelman, owner of Portland’s Por Que No restaurants, led the effort to block this here in Oregon. As I understand it, the glove requirement is part of the FDA’s food safety code and states, or least Oregon, are free to adopt or reject parts they don’t like. A small group of food industry folks, mostly from Portland’s better restaurants, pushed back and got the state regulators to drop the glove rule. It was fast food and institutional food service people who were in favor of it. A restaurant with a hand-washing policy should be able to opt out, so maybe California chefs need to organize.

  • JMB

    Im not crazy about germs im crazy about the idea of your fingers and saliva from past tastings in my food. use a bloody spoon for fucks sake.

  • Meg

    I’m a pastry chef in North Carolina. Last year we adopted the federal food code, like CA, which means gloved hands with ready to eat food. Sadly, there is a lack if education in the part of the law makers and enforcers. This means that there are so many places that use gloves For EVERYTHING. Why is this a big deal (aside from what you stated here)? Well, so many of these places use latex gloves. Latex is considered by the FDA to be a major food allergen. Myriad studies confirm the transferrance of latex particles from gloves to food. This is especially troublesome to me because I have an anaphylactic allergy to latex. Their effort to make my food safer just might kill me. The lack of education by law makers and enforcers extends to this complication. I’m ServSafe certified. I get sanitation. I’ve gone to countless local restos and had managers argue with me that they are required to wear gloves! But not latex gloves!!!!! I’ve given up. No more eating local for this pastry chef. :(

  • Alex

    I had actually made pasta dough and spaghetti tonight for the first time with my new KA attatchments. Very ironic…”don’t you think”? I used a recipe I found on FN that was the same as the one above. It turned out great.

    I do wonder what Thomas Keller thinks of this law.

  • Darrell Morvik

    Really makes you wonder how civilization could have ever progressed past the point of hunter gatherers and living in caves without legislation like this… progress!

  • Scott Nowell

    I like your blog and comments, but the ending of the 5th paragraph is offensive. You might be pissed and you might be smart about food, but you got no couth.

  • Chuck Shaw

    Same jackasses that banned foie gras. Phil Burton never even visited the farm he put out of business with his idiotic legislation, but we can light up a joint.

  • Joseph Hatch

    Makes sense sort of….. You do not want a cook that does not wash hands to make your food. You do not want bacteria from said cook’s hand to taint your food. Nor do you want the food to taint the cook. A great example… 20 years ago Exec Chef and I had to butcher 3000 LBS of veal for an event. There were no gloves available. I was sick for days there after. To this very day, no gloves, I refuse to butcher anything. Same practise at home. No gloves, I will not make a cut. What people do not realize is that the glove is a prophlactic. It goes both ways. Protects the consumer and the handeler.

  • Rene A Weibel

    I said it years ago, the lawmakers (all with no glues) believe they are protecting the public, in reality they are slowly killing us, as our systems will not be immune to anything, the comment about the Mexican stands says it best, those people never get sick.
    I am now happily out of the daily rat race and I can say “the good old days are way behind us” and It was fun then.

  • gwyn

    1) stupid people make me tired.
    2) would love to see “Wake the fuck up” tee-shirts and bumper stickers.
    3) that dough is gorgeous.

  • Moe Rubenzahl

    Classic example of regulating a behavior rather than results. Handle the raw meat with gloves then handle the raw vegetables — how is that any worse than same behavior using hands?

    Some regs make sense, such as keeping food at safe temperatures but does this rule have any evidence? Or is it some lawmaker’s groundless idea?

    In the end, the only safety is our trust in the restaurant and its staff. They are not going to stay in business if they risk their brand by giving their customers food poisoning.

  • Anne

    I am a bone marrow transplant RN and work with the most immunocompromised patients. We wear gloves when we need to protect ourselves from something (like bodily fluids) but we don’t wear them the rest of the time because people who wear gloves have a false sense of security that their hands are clean. You actually clean your hands much more frequently when you are not wearing gloves. As one of my colleagues asked a deli worker one day (as she watched him wipe down the counter, grab the door to the microwave, and then touch her lunch meat), “Sir, are you protecting my sandwich from you…or are you protecting yourself from my sandwich…?”

    Education of proper hand washing frequency and techniques is essential…as well as enforcement of this. Gloves are not the answer.

    • GQ

      EXACTLY! Think about it. Would you EVER touch some black stuff on the side of a skanky garbage can without gloves on? Hell no! Yet I’ve personally witnessed gloved guys on the line doing that and worse, touching gross stuff because they are protected from it, then returning to the food. It’s unsanitary and disgusting. Training, and washing your hands are all that is needed. Jeez.

  • Peter DiPaola

    Too many assumptions being made here. You may be clean but most are not. I have family and friends in the industry at all levels. Maybe gloves are not the answer, but cleanliness cannot be an assumed fact. I’ve never been sick when I cook at home but have been ill many times at all levels of establishments. There is a sacred trust between the cook and the diner and every effort needs to be put forth to honor that trust.

  • Sally

    I have seen wait staff glove, work with food, answer a phone (still gloved) and return to cooking. Gloves work only for seconds (and when this is important you SHOULD be gloved), but working in gloves for longer periods makes them exactly like your hand with all the germs you pick up except, you’re not washing your gloves. Lets have some common sense and try not to legislate for the most stupid among us or by the most stupid among us.

  • Zalbar

    Much ado about nothing. I’m not going to be worried about some germs if I’m eating in a clean well run establishment. There is a malaise about germs that borders on obsessive in america. I don’t understand it, and I never will.

    We don’t use gloves where I stage/apprentice/volunteer at. We’re a fairly high-end french bistro. We are all also obsessive about cleanliness. If you step off the line you do not get back on the line till you’ve washed your hands.

    ~Z

  • Gloria P

    Years ago I waited at a supermarket fish counter while the gloved clerk talked on the phone in the back room. He rubbed his gloved hands through his greasy hair occasionally. When he was through talking he came out and asked what I wanted, then dived his hands into the bin of scallops with the same gloves on. He was surprised when I told him I no longer wanted the scallops. I called the health dept. asking that the market require glove use training but have no idea if anything was ever done.

  • Bob

    California laws are always the most common sense, right? I wonder if they know how dirty phones are? What about the various fruit the bartender cuts up in bulk and leaves out?

    Meanwhile, there continues to be evidence that the ingredient in antibacterial soaps in unhealthy for us and the FDA is potentially going to ban it.

    Those gloves aren’t sterile anyway. I wonder if they’ll change their minds when those gloves start washing up on their California beaches.

  • Kim

    This is a classic example of a little bit of information being a dangerous thing, especially in the age of social media. Nowhere in the code does it say that are gloves mandated. Nowhere.

    The article that is linked here clearly states the language, which says: “(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.”

    In simple words, the mandate is that employees may not touch ready-to-eat food with their bare hands. That is *not* the same thing as requiring gloves to be worn at all times.

    As somebody alluded to above, the reason for the no bare hands mandate isn’t to prevent cross-contamination from one food item to another, or from a cash register to your sandwich. Rather, to put it bluntly, it is to prevent the poop or vomit on an ill foodworker’s hand from getting into your food.

    Norovirus, aka “the stomach flu,” is one of the main reasons that this rule exists. People with Norovirus illness shed billions of virus particles in their stool and vomit. Billions. And yet, you only need to ingest fewer than 100 virus particles to make you sick. Sick people are the most contagious when they are actively sick, *and during the first 3 days after symptoms subside.* That is the reason that “stomach flu” tends to circulate throughout an entire household.

    Sick leave policies (and adherence to those polices) in the foodservice industry are awesome, right? (sarcasm font). Consider how many times a day a sick person may inadvertently get poop on their fingers (in my field we jokingly refer to it as a “toilet paper malfunction”), and then resume making your sandwich. Even worse (or better?), not all infected people will have symptoms – and yet they will still shed the virus particles in their poop.

    http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/hcp/clinical-overview.html
    http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/downloads/foodhandlers.pdf
    http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/downloads/keyfacts.pdf

    The language in the new law originated from the FDA Model Food Code. Please take a look at 3-301.11 in Annex 3, which is the Public Health Reasoning for this particular item:
    http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/ucm189211.htm

    “In November 1999, the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) concluded that bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods can contribute to the transmission of foodborne illness and agreed that the transmission could be interrupted. The NACMCF recommended exclusion/restriction of ill food workers as the first preventative strategy and recognized that this intervention has limitations, such as trying to identify and manage asymptomatic food workers.

    The three interdependent critical factors in reducing foodborne illness transmitted through the fecal-oral route, identified by the NACMCF, include exclusion/restriction of ill food workers; proper handwashing; and no bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. Each of these factors is inadequate when utilized independently and may not be effective. However, when all three factors are combined and utilized properly, the transmission of fecal-oral pathogens can be controlled. Depending on the microbial contamination level on the hands, handwashing with plain soap and water, as specified in the Food Code, may not be an adequate intervention to prevent the transmission of pathogenic microbes to ready-to-eat foods via hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. Handwashing as specified in the Food Code will reduce microbial contamination of the hands by 2-3 logs.

    Food employees and conditional employees infected with fecal-oral pathogens can shed viral and protozoan pathogens in the feces at levels up to 108 viral particles or oocysts per gram of feces. Having a high potential contamination level on the hands combined with a very low infectious dose necessary to cause infection are the reasons that FDA believes that handwashing alone is not an effective single barrier in the transmission of these fecal-oral pathogens. The infective dose for Giardia and Cryptosporidium is believed to be as low as 1-10 oocysts, and as few as 10 virus particles can infect an individual with Norovirus or hepatitis A.

    The CDC now estimates that Norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States. Contaminated hands are a significant factor in the transmission of enteric viruses, including Norovirus and hepatitis A virus. Further, contamination of food by an infected food worker is the most common mode of transmission of hepatitis A in foodborne disease outbreaks. Research has shown the viral transfer rate from contaminated hands to ready-to-eat food to be about 10% and that proper handwashing will significantly reduce the chance of transmitting pathogenic viruses. However, with heavy initial contamination of the hands, especially in the subungal space of the fingers, a basic 2-3 log reduction handwash procedure may not be adequate to prevent the transmission of viral foodborne illness.

    Even though bare hands should never contact exposed, ready-to-eat food, thorough handwashing is important in keeping gloves or other utensils from becoming vehicles for transferring microbes to the food.”

  • Kim

    *I forgot to add, the new law actually does include provisions for being able to handle ready-to-eat foods with bare hands, so long as an establishment isn’t serving a highly succeptible population, gets approval from the regulatory authority in advance, and has solid employee health policies in place.

  • LizJ

    And this from a state where most cities won’t let you give or sell a plastic bag to a customer. Can you imagine the volume of industrial waste created by proper glove changes?

    On that same subject, I’ve worked in an institutional kitchen where workers were sometimes chided for going through too many gloves in a day. Last I checked, soap and hot water were cheap and plentiful. We’ve stepped into a dangerous territory where safe handling becomes a restaurant budget line item, as well.

  • Miss Kim @ behgopa

    I work in one of them California kitchens. And I’ve noticed that many fellow chefs will ignore the glove law for the most part. It’s only when the Health Department comes around, most will scavenger around for the nearest glove box. I totally agree that this law is stupid. Some idiots think that wearing gloves means that less germs are going to be spread when it can mean the exact opposite.

  • mr blur

    since you mentioned meatballs…how about a great meatball recipe? I’m never very happy w/ mine.

  • JoeG

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion but, seriously, you need to be more responsible with your claims.

    “So this law is in fact encouraging the very problem it strives to prevent”

    You present absolutely NO evidence — nada, zero — to back up this claim of “fact.” You are, in fact, guilty of creating unfounded fears that you claim to be against.

  • Daniel Weise

    My second favorite Julia Child quote is “It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.” (My favorite JC quote is “Every woman should have a blowtorch.”)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1.  The Latest California Idiocy | Transterrestrial Musings
  2.  Idiocy in California - The Frugal Guy Cook
  3.  Weekend Links, Jan. 13 | Bowen Appétit
  4.  California mandates gloves for all food handling - Overlawyered
  5.  Gloves Off
  6.  Tasting seasonally: citrus recipe roundup | edge of center