Food Daily Dish

Repeal of food safety law requiring gloves in 'final push'

Repeal of food safety law requiring gloves makes its way through California's Senate
Will the food safety law requiring chefs and bartenders to wear gloves soon be repealed?

The proposed repeal of the California law that requires food workers to wear gloves has inched its way through the state Assembly and Senate and is in its "final push" to go to Gov. Jerry Brown. On Thursday morning, the state Senate voted 32 to 0 to approve the bill repealing the law, sending it to the governor; he is expected to sign it this weekend.

The state Assembly's Health Committee, which proposed the original bill that Gov. Brown signed into law, voted to repeal that section of the Health and Safety Code in March. On Wednesday, Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) said at a news conference: “We want laws that promote public health, not a deterrent for business. ... I am committed to working with the restaurant community to roll back the glove law so we can move [toward] meaningful conversation on food safety.”

Pan is the author of the bill that would reverse the law that says cooks and bartenders must wear disposable gloves or use scoops, tongs or other utensils when handling "ready-to-eat" food such as fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, deli meats -- anything that won't be cooked or reheated before it goes out to customers. 

Although the new food safety law went into effect Jan. 1, health officials in parts of California have given restaurants until July 1 to comply before dispensing violations. In Los Angeles, county health officials earlier this year said they would not start enforcing the new glove law until 2015 and would issue warnings during a grace period.

Many in the restaurant and bar industry have rallied against the law. Several chefs in Los Angeles have said the law is confusing, ineffective, costly and bad for the environment. A change.org petition created by bartender Joshua Miller of Alameda, Calif., gathered more than 18,000 supporters pushing for repeal of the glove law.

The bill to repeal the glove provision would return previous language to the food safety code that says employees should “minimize” bare-handed contact with food. The bill has cleared the Assembly and is expected to go to a Senate vote as early as this week.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

June 27, 10:27 a.m.: This post was updated to include information about the California Senate vote.

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