thoughts

On California's New Law Requiring Every Chef To Wear Gloves

On Jan.1 Jerry Brown signed into law a new addition to the California Retail Health Code, the document that governs all restaurants and food service establishments. This new provision requires nearly everyone working in a kitchen to wear gloves.  Single use disposable gloves that they change every time they change tasks. What the law states is that people touching food which won’t be cooked after contact need to wear gloves, but if you think about it logistically, that’s everyone. That’s a bartender squeezing a lemon into your drink, a chef salting a dish after plating, chopping garlic, rolling sushi, really anything done in a restaurant. The reality is that if followed to the letter, it would force every chef to go through dozens of pairs gloves a day.

This really bothers me. For the aesthetic crime of not letting chefs touch their food (which I firmly believe makes good food almost impossible to make), the environmental waste of tens of millions of gloves filling up landfills daily, and from what research I’ve done so far, the fact that studies suggest it actually creates a more bacteria rich environment (think about how sweaty your hands get wearing latex for more than a few minutes, how impossible it is to put on gloves with damp hands after you wash them, and how often they rip).

I disagree with this law, and I’m going to work to do something about it. At the moment we’re gathering information on the states justification of the law. I filed a Sunshine Request, like a FOIA for California, with Pat Kennelly, the head of the Food and Drug Branch of the California Department of Public Health, to find out the specific justifications of the law. What the process they used in creating the law, and what research was used to back the decision, what studies were done on the environmental impact of the law, etc.

If you want to get involved in the campaign, or if you have info that you think could help the cause, email me at iso@foragesf.com

More info soon…